Opposition Leader: Cabinet changes appear to be payback favours

Date: 
Monday, October 31, 2016 - 20:15

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says the changes made to the Cabinet will do nothing to improve the lives of citizens.

The Opposition Leader says it appears that the appointments were a form of payback to those favoured by the prime minister.

The following is the Opposition Leader's response to the Cabinet changes.

"Overall, this second Cabinet reshuffle coupled with three budgets in one year, would not make a difference in the quality of life for citizens who are burdened by threats to their lives, high cost of living, unemployment and sharp cutbacks on social and safety measures.

Trinidadians and Tobagonians would continue to suffer under an incompetent and bungling Rowley regime.

After one year in office the Rowley government has failed to deal with these priority areas of crime fighting, job creation and management of the economy and, good health care.

How will these appointments help a besieged citizenry living in daily fear of criminals?

How will these appointments help those who have lost their jobs?

How will these appointments help those needing good health care?

How will these appointments make for job creation and better management of the economy?

So, the new appointments beg the questions:

Is this Payback time now?

Is the Rowley government continuing to sell out to the financiers and super elites?

This is a classic case of reshuffling bush cards. It is now apparent that Dr. Rowley does not have a team of competent, knowledgeable and experienced professionals from whom to select Cabinet Ministers. Suitably qualified professionals clearly do not want to be a part of the failing Rowley regime.

There is neither explanation nor easy appreciation of the reasons for reshuffling certain Ministers and not others.

The Ministers of Health, Education and National Security have been colossal failures in their respective portfolios and have yet escaped being removed.  A cloud remains over the head of Attorney General Al Rawi for his handling of the Malcolm Jones and other fiascoes.

The Minister of Trade and Industry has not made any headway in attracting business investments. The Minister of Finance has presented three national budgets lacking in vision, creativity and economic solutions to the country's financial woes.

The country has previously seen Franklyn Khan at work and has not been impressed by his performance. His promotion to the critical Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs does not to provide any comfort of visionary leadership to improve the activities in this vital sector. The initial appointment of Nicole Oliviere as Minister of Energy reflected extremely poor judgement by the Prime Minister because of her absolute lack of experience, knowledge and maturity for this all-important post.

The removal of Fitzgerald Hinds as Minister of Works was anticipated in light of the absence of any infrastructural works in the first 13 months of the Rowley regime. In addition, Mr. Hinds was discriminatory and haughty in the conduct of his duties. His replacement, Rohan Sinanan, has been handed a major ministerial plum without any proper experience in public service. Some may see his appointment as reward for his fund-raising for the 2015 general election. I forecast major conflicts of interest arising from Mr. Sinanan's appointment.

Mr. Antoine may have lost his job because of his blatant moves to dismiss CEPEP contractors and employees. The new Minister, Mr. Hinds, must give an early assurance that there would not be mass lay-offs in CEPEP.

The seeming promotion of Stuart Young to Ministerial rank confirms that he is in the Prime Minister's inner circle, although the reason for this privileged status cannot be discerned. Mr. Young is now even more secured as the Minister of Everything. It is puzzling that he was not named as Minister of Communications even though he essentially undertakes those duties.

I repeat, overall, this second Cabinet reshuffle coupled with three budgets in one year, would not make a difference in the quality of life for citizens who are burdened by threats to their lives, high cost of living, unemployment and sharp cutbacks on social and safety measures."