Monday, January 22, 2018

Vasant: Dismissals no crisis for Govt

There are lessons to be learnt from the removal of ministers Chandresh Sharma and Glenn Ramadharsingh from the Cabinet—one can fall as fast as one can ascend into power, says Government Minister Vasant Bharath.

Following Sharma’s resignation, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar made Cabinet changes where the Ministry of Communications was added to the Ministry of Trade and Investments which Bharath heads.

Sharma’s Tourism Ministry portfolio was given to Gerry Hadeed.

Bharath responded to questions from the media yesterday following the Trinidad and Tobago International Financial Centre (IFC) Business Process Management, Finance and Accounting Training Programme at the School of Accounting and Management (SAM), St Augustine.

He said the loss of his colleagues from the Cabinet were regrettable but came with lessons.

“They were both excellent ministers, they have both been colleagues of mine for a long time. But what it does is exposes human frailty, it teaches us as human beings how quickly we can rise and how (much) quicker than that we can fall. It grounds us all, I believe, and puts into perspective the humility with which I accept this Ministry knowing that at a moments notice, we can all fall from grace,” said Bharath.

Questioned on whether the removal of two ministers in less than a week signalled a crisis for the Government, Bharath said, “Absolutely not. It signals the strength, courage and character of the Prime Minister in doing what she considers to be right based on the election platform of 2010.”

“In fact, it shows a massive d ifference between how we handle internal matters that become public as opposed to a previous administration where in fact many ministers and offices of that government committed many infractions and remained within the fold of the party and government,” he added.

Bharath also assured that the Ministers’ removals would not impact on investor confidence.

“One of the selling factors of Trinidad and Tobago whenever I travel abroad is the political and economical stability. Investors are interested primarily in the state of the economy and I think that Ministers Howai and Dookeran ought to be congratulated for the wonderful job they’ve done in holding the economy together, particularly in light of the fact that many of our Caricom neighbours and other trading partners in Europe and the US  have crumbled over the last five years and many of them are on the brink of bankruptcy,” he said.

Bharath also praised Sharma, saying he has been an excellent representative to the people of Fyzabad.

Asked if Sharma’s resignation would affect the United National Congress (UNC) and whether Sharma should step aside and make way for a by-election, Bharath said, “I don’t believe that his resignation would affect the running of the party. They are two separate issues—government and party. I think in time Sharma will, as he has always been, continue to be an excellent Member of Parliament for his constituency. 

He has massive support still in his constituency and this will give him an opportunity to go back into the constituency and continue the good work he has been doing since 1991.”