Cabinet Reshuffle… THE GREAT ESCAPE

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If Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley reshuffles his Cabinet based on performance, then it is very likely, there would be no Cabinet.

Edmund Dillon

Edmund Dillon

On Monday, Rowley fired Minister of Energy, Nicole Ollivierre and Minister of Public Utilities, Ancil Antoine. He brought in two newcomers from outside the Government. He named Rohan Sinanan as his new Minister of Works and Transport, and Kazim Hosein as the Minister of Rural Development and Local Government.

Ollivierre never made her mark in the Ministry of Energy. She came to the Ministry and one of the hurdles she had to overcome was presiding over the National Gas Company where she had a case of discrimination while she worked there.

Very early as a Minister, she signed a letter seeking sponsorship for a Queen Pageant in the La Brea Constituency. In recent weeks, she was seen arguing with her constituents in a video which went viral.

Faris Al-Rawi

Faris Al-Rawi

Antoine never settled as Minister in charge of the public utilities. He lost CEPEP very early as he was seeking to fire all the contractors in the programme.

Fitzgerald Hinds was removed from the Ministry of Works and sent to Public Utilities. Like Antoine, Hinds never settled down in this mega Ministry and actually did nothing. All he did was make public statements of mismanagement, waste and corruption in this Ministry during the PP Government.

He was even chastised by Rowley at a public meeting in Malabar as never being at his Richmond Street office, but at the transport division offices at the Waterfront. Well, now he will enjoy One Alexandra Place.

What about the other Ministers?

Members of the gambling public would have lost plenty money if they had placed bets on Minister of National Security, Edmund Dillon, being removed. This Ministry has always been a graveyard for Ministers. In the last 20 years, only Joseph Theodore had really made a mark.

Terrence Deyalsingh

Terrence Deyalsingh

Dillon is presiding over a high murder and crime rate. He started off alone but ended up with Dennis Moses and Glenda Jennings-Smith as his assistants. On Sunday, Rowley said he was taking a keen interest in the Police Service. A terrible indictment against Dillon.

Moses as Minister of Foreign Affairs has not made any statement of significance over the past year regarding this country’s foreign policy. He has remained very silent on the continued detention in Venezuela of five Trinidad Muslims.

Franklin Khan goes to the Ministry of Energy with some experience. As a petroleum geologist, Khan would have an idea of how to run such an important Ministry at a time when oil and gas prices are low.

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi remains in place for now. He has a number of matters hanging over his head, but Rowley has decided to keep him there. From dropping the Malcolm Jones case, to his children being photographed with high-powered weapons, Al-Rawi lives a charmed life.

Dennis Moses

Dennis Moses

Stuart Young as a Junior Minister had Cabinet status. Now he has been elevated to a full Minister. Regarded as the Minister of Everything, he goes into most Ministries and is the de facto Minister of Communications, chairing the post-cabinet press conferences. But he is warned. Some of his colleagues do not like his role as Rowley’s blue-eyed boy.

Terrence Deyalsingh must be the luckiest man alive. Having led the Ministry of Health to drug shortages over the year, Deyalsingh comes across arrogant to the technocrats in the Ministry. He never gets things right.

Apart from being the new Bollywood kid on the block, Randall Mitchell is still feeling his way around the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

Dr Nyan Gadsy-Dolly has been doing quite well in the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Community Development and she was a sure pick to stay. But in the coming days, she would have to deal with allegations of fraud in Pan Trinbago.

Shamfa Cudjoe has gone silent ever since her Budget presentation in 2015 when she said: “We are in Charge”. She has not made much to say as Minister of Tourism concerning the planned construction of a Sandals resort in Tobago. Even Stuart Young has been saying more than her.

Well, Anthony Garcia is facing plenty problems as Minister of Education. In September, he promised that all schools will be opened on time. Well, they did, but soon after all the problems began and there are mounting protests every week.

Darryl Smith as Minister of Sport thought he would have been elected the Youth Officer of the PNM at Sunday’s elections. He got a sound cut tail from the nephew of the late Prime Minister, Patrick Manning. Smith needs to return to the grassroots arena and be more accommodating to people.

Cherry-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn needs a bigger public profile as Minister of Social Development. She knows the most unfortunate people in society need assistance and she needs to be around to assist them.

Maxie Cuffie was appointed Minister of Communications but while he kept the title, he lost those duties to Young. He has been anything but a proper communicator and it came as no surprise when Young started to host the post-cabinet press conference.

Jennifer Baptiste-Primus was a very vocal PSA boss, but she literally silent as Minister of Labour, while Clarence Rambharat still harbours his loss in the Mayaro constituency.

Colm Imbert has the most difficult job as Minister of Finance, juggling to keep the economy afloat in these hard times. With no experience in finance, Imbert depends on the technocrats for advice, and for now, he keeps on top of things, although the economy is at a virtual standstill.

Camille Robinson-Regis, as Minister of Planning, is fighting with leaseholders in Chaguaramas and it will be interesting to see how this ends.

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