Quiet Cabinet change… Minister Antoine loses Cepep

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In the midst of a controversy over Cepep, ministerial responsibility for the programme has been removed from Ancil Antoine.

Antoine, Minister of Public Utilities, has surrendered that aspect of his portfolio to Franklyn Khan, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and chairman of the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM).

The quiet Cabinet change has taken place while Cepep is embroiled in a row over its plans to send home 175 contractors and the expected eventual termination of up of 12,000 workers.

There were also claims of ministerial interference in the operations of the programme, of dismissals of several officials and employment without transparency and accountability.

A former independent senator who is currently employed as a high-priced consultant has also been linked to the developments at Cepep.

In a media advertisement, the company responded to criticisms by stating that operations are returning to Cepep’s “original moorings.”

In recent years, the company was involved in flood alleviation and marine clean-up activities.

Former line minister for Cepep Dr. Roodal Moonilal has termed the Cabinet change as a vote of no confidence in Antoine.

Moonilal claimed that Antoine had failed to properly manage Cepep.
Some observers have noted that the programme has been put under the control of the chairman of the ruling party on the eve of the local government election.

New contractors are to be appointed within the next few days.

TT Whistleblower had earlier reported that certain senior government officials had submitted nominees for Cepep contracts.

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