“Lack of respect by the Prime Minister”

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THE EDITOR: Prime Minister Keith Rowley has no respect for integrity in public life whereby he seems to be condoning individuals who cannot uphold the highest standards of propriety in public life. He continues to allow unacceptable standards of behaviour expected of a Minister and seems to endorse the appropriate consequences of a breach of those standards

Marlene is back… once again!

Prime Minster Dr Keith Rowley’s announcement that Marlene McDonald has been appointed a Minister in the Ministry of Public Administration and Communications demonstrates that the Prime Minister has no respect for integrity in public life whereby he seems to be condoning individuals who cannot uphold the highest standards of propriety in public life. He continues to allow unacceptable standards of behaviour expected of a Minister and seems to endorse the appropriate consequences of a breach of those standards.

McDonald who was fired from Cabinet in March 2016 by Rowley since he was feeling intense political heat from within the PNM over an audit report from the Ministry of Community Development (under the Manning-led Administration) which revealed allegations of questionable payments to a close associate of then Minister McDonald.

This associate was a director of Calabar Foundation which received $375,000 three months before the foundation was even registered and twelve days before the 2015 General Election.

The audit also revealed that over $2.7M was issued to another of her close associates for work allegedly done on three community centres; work which was never done.

The Integrity Commission had launched an investigation into these allegations.

Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams had also initiated a criminal investigation into the Calabar Foundation.

Have the IC and TTPS submitted their final reports? Have their reports cleared McDonald of any wrongdoing? If so, then the Prime Minister must divulge its contents to the nation.

This is McDonald’s third Ministerial appointment in the 30-month old Rowley-led PNM Administration.

McDonald also holds the record for the shortest Ministerial appointment ever held in Trinidad and Tobago.

On June 29, 2017 Rowley appointed her Minister of Public Utilities and two days later, he fired her for taking an uninvited guest to her swearing in at President’s House, a guest described by some as a “community leader” and by others as a “gang leader.”

But it seems Rowley has no care and concern for integrity in public office to preserve and promote the integrity of public officials when dealing with members of his Party.

Rowley further said “In her last outing there was some lack of judgement and we all deserve to get a second chance”… last outing; second chance PM? There have been many outings and her lack of judgement continues to be her trademark.

His Minister of Planning Camille Robinson-Regis, as a Minister in the Manning-led Cabinet, misused her Govt-issued credit card in 2007, contrary to Govt’s policy.

Robinson-Regis went on a shopping spree in New York purchasing jewelry, clothes and other items totalling $213.756.00.

To this day, there is no record of any repayment to the Treasury by Robinson-Regis.

Despite these abuses of the public purse, Rowley resurrected her in 2015 and lo and behold, just four months later, Robinson-Regis walked into the Arima branch of First Citizens with solid, liquid cash totalling $143,800. Her explanations for this large amount of cash have been inconsistent, even less than honest but decidedly incomplete.

What about Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, the second highest office holder in the Rowley-led Administration who remains the subject of not one but two police investigations yet he continues to sit in Cabinet and the National Security Council. Al-Rawi is under investigation for violating Sections of the Firearms Act, the Military Training (Prohibition) Act and Section 8 of the Children Act 12 of 2012.

He is also under investigation by the TTPS’s Professional Standards Bureau who are investigating allegations of misbehaviour in public office.

But as Al-Rawi pontificates, “The facts are not fully out there just yet and I expect the PM will bring those out, so I will like to think he is ahead of the curve and is managing it appropriately.”

The Rowley-led Administration is limping along, reserving unto itself the right of incompetence and ineptitude in managing the affairs of Trinidad and Tobago.

Capil Bissoon

Canada
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MARLENE MC DONALD AT HER SWEARING IN

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