Reshuffle will strengthen PP
By COREY CONNELLY Sunday, June 24 2012
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Accompanied by councillor for Febeau/Bourg Mulatresse, Roger Charles-Celestine, right, and other party officials, Congress of the People (COP) politic...
Congress of the People (COP) political leader, Prakash Ramadhar, yesterday said the Cabinet reshuffle will strengthen the two-year-old People’s Partnership (PP) Government.
Speaking to reporters before the start of the party’s Street Talk programme at the Croisee, San Juan, Ramadhar said, “What happened yesterday (Friday) has strengthened the COP’s position, indeed it has strengthened the Partnership in going forward.”
Ramadhar, the Legal Affairs Minister, was one of several ministers who retained their portfolios after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s long-awaited Cabinet realignment exercise on Friday.
However, the COP leader, who has reportedly been at loggerheads with Persad-Bissessar over her handling of some matters in the PP within recent months, said yesterday he had no fear of being shifted.
“I have come into Government. I have given up my life to serve my nation. Wherever I am put I will do my utmost best,” he said.
Ramadhar said he was pleased with the changes, most notably the inclusion of his COP colleague, Jamal Mohammed, who has been given the post of Minister of Communications, and former chief executive officer of the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA), Ganga Singh, now in charge of the newly-created Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.
COP deputy leader Dr Lincoln Douglas, who has been given the portfolio of Arts and Multiculturalism, also came in for high praise.
“I think they are all going to do an amazing job in the service of our people. So I feel lifted and I feel very happy to be here. I think the country, itself will be very pleased with the performance and we will judge over time, knowing the capacity for work for Jamal, Lincoln, Ganga and many others. I feel we have improved ourselves as a Government and the people of Trinidad and Tobago will benefit from that,” he said.
Ramadhar also commented on the quest for a new Mayor of San Fernando following the elevation of Marlene Coudray to the Cabinet as the new Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development.
He shied away from endorsing San Fernando Deputy Mayor Dr Navi Muradali for the post, saying he did not want to be premature. Ramadhar said a meeting of the COP’s national council has been planned for today to make decisions on the way forward.
He also took the opportunity to again note the party’s sympathy for Coudray — with whom he has a had contentious relationship — in the wake of the tragic death of her daughter, Michelle Coudray-Greaves, in Jamaica. (See page 7)
“Let me just say for the record that Ms Coudray is going through the most awful experience that no human being should ever have to endure,” he said. “But it is important that all those who care enough share in her grief and to show support for her and her family. I have done that before but for the record I want to do that again and to congratulate her also on her ascension into the Cabinet and rest assured that in terms of the San Fernando Council, that the work will continue.”
Asked about the appointment of Jack Warner as Minister of National Security, Ramadhar said, “Whoever could get the job done is the foremost and utmost priority to us. Crime is one of our biggest issues. The Prime Minister is continually worried about it, as we all are, and I wish Mr Warner the very best. His success is the success of Trinidad and Tobago in the fight of crime.”
The COP leader also did not regard COP founder Winston Dookeran’s shift to the Foreign Affairs Ministry as a demotion.
“I spoke to Mr Dookeran before hand and this hero of Trinidad and Tobago has done more than yeoman service.
“He has served the economy, has stabilised it and it is now set for growth. I spoke to him and he now looks forward to the challenge of Foreign Affairs,” he said
“In terms of protocol, hierarchy, after the Prime Minister, the next highest ministry in terms of respect is that of Foreign Affairs. We do have grave challenges in the future with our international image and how we need to ensure investment and a host of other things that will come to Trinidad and Tobago.”