President Paula-Mae Weekes will swear-in a new Cabinet under the leadership of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley from 4 pm at President’s House, St Ann’s, today, after the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) yesterday ratified the People’s National Movement’s 22-19 victory over the United National Congress in last Monday’s 2020 General Election. (See page 9)
And Rowley is expected to ring in the changes within his Cabinet as he seeks to get the right mix to undertake the new government’s programmes over the next five years.
Rowley was coy when asked about the possible make-up of his new Cabinet at a press conference at Balisier House, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. However, he said his new Cabinet will be ready for today’s swearing-in ceremony and while continuity will be the new government’s focus, there will be changes. These changes, he said, will focus on the government’s vision going forward in the next five years and some of the new faces will likely play a role in those changes.
“One of the areas that you would see (changes) is the area of agriculture, you would see us trying to give agriculture a bit of a centre stage because we intend to do a lot of work in agriculture, and if you don’t see it tomorrow, you’ll see it later on,” he said.
“Also the question of digitisation…that is part of Road Map arrangements that we need to bring into the government in a special way.”
However, Guardian Media understands that among the ministers likely to retain their ministerial portfolios for another term are Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan, National Security Minister Stuart Young, Sports and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe, Local Government and Rural Development Minister Kazim Hosein, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh and Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat.
Among the changes, sources suggested that Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, who was the Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts in the previous administration, will now be shifted to the Education Ministry, while Colm Imbert, who served as Finance Minister, will take up the position as Energy Minister.
There was also speculation that former energy minister Conrad Enill will return to active duty to manage the Ministry of Finance, while attorney and Port-of-Spain South MP Keith Scotland will head Legal Affairs and Pennelope Beckles-Robinson will be posted to Foreign Affairs.
Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds, who took over as Public Utilities Minister following the resignation of Robert Le Hunte, is tipped to take over the Ministry of Housing.
Among the newcomers, Brian Manning, who brought home with San Fernando East seat, is expected to take up duties at the Office of the Prime Minister to work alongside Donna Cox, while Foster Cummings, who won the contentious La Horquetta/Talparo seat against the UNC’s Jearlean John, is expected to get the Public Utilities portfolio.
Junior ministerial positions are also expected to be given to Michael Seales (National Security), attorney Renuka Sookgram (Legal Affairs), Lisa Morris-Julian (Social Development and Family Services) and Jason Williams (Sports).
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the T&T Guardian understands that ministers will take their oaths in batches of five today.