PM meets with Samuel
By Clint Chan Tack Saturday, August 17 2013
PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has met with Congress of the People (COP) Arima MP, Rodger Samuel, about his political future. Samuel reports directly to Persad-Bissessar as a Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister.
Also attending that meeting, which took place after the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister St Clair, was Legal Affairs Minister and COP political leader, Prakash Ramadhar.
Persad-Bissessar made the disclosure when she addressed an Eid dinner at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, on Thursday night. She also reiterated statements she made hours earlier to reporters at Duncan Street, Port-of-Spain, about steps which Government will take to deal with the upsurge in crime there earlier this week, and crime in the country in general.
The dinner started at 6.30 pm but Persad-Bissessar arrived at the Diplomatic Centre around 8 pm. Telling her guests that she meant no disrespect by her late arrival, the Prime Minister explained, “We started our day very early this morning, with a very comprehensive Cabinet meeting.”
She then disclosed, “From that, some of us went into a meeting with leader of the COP (Ramadhar) and then we met Rodger Samuel.”
Persad-Bissessar did not give any details of what she discussed with Samuel and Ramadhar in their meeting. Ramadhar has said Samuel was unhappy regarding his current ministerial post.
To date, Samuel has never stated whether or not, what Ramadhar said was correct, opting to pray for God’s guidance on his political future.
Persad-Bissessar, who is also United National Congress (UNC) political leader, told the UNC’s national executive on Wednesday that she plans to separate the ministerial portfolios of Local Government and Works from Dr Suruj Rambachan, who has been running both ministries since Jack Warner resigned as National Security Minister on April 21.
Newsday understands Gender Affairs Minister Marlene Coudray, a former San Fernando Mayor, is tipped to become Local Government Minister in a mini-Cabinet reshuffle, leaving Rambachan as Works Minister.
Samuel will replace Coudray as Gender Affairs Minister.
During last month’s Chaguanas West bye-election, Warner accused Persad-Bissessar of overlooking Samuel for a Cabinet post in favour of Coudray, Ganga Singh (Environment) and Jamal Mohammed (Communications). Efforts to contact Samuel, Ramadhar and Coudray for comment yesterday were unsuccessful.
Persad-Bissessar attributed her late arrival as well to a National Security Council meeting which took place after her meeting with Samuel and Ramadhar, and to her visit to Duncan Street where “there were so many tragic murders.” Samuel and Ramadhar accompanied the Prime Minister to Duncan Street to meet with residents.
Reiterating plans to establish an Army/Police post there and increase surveillance by law enforcement as well, Persad-Bissessar said it was important for all citizens to “come together to deal with the scourge of crime in the country. My Government remains committed to dealing with that number one issue (crime) in our land.”
Referring to the teachings of Islam, Persad-Bissessar said, “Sometimes evil is seen to be overtaking us, but it never lasts. Goodness will always shine. The responsibility for peace and harmony rests with each and every citizen of our beloved country.”
Saying she had sought the counsel of the Muslim community on several issues during her political career, Persad-Bissessar said this was how she selected July 29 as the date for the Chaguanas West bye-election and thanked Brother Imitiaz Mohammed of the Islamic Missionaries Guild (IMG) for the role he played in the UNC’s unsuccessful campaign to retain that constituency.
Among the audience was defeated UNC Chaguanas West candidate Khadijah Ameen who sat at a table with Rambachan, Ramadhar and Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh.
Saying all citizens had the freedom “to choose between good and evil,” Persad-Bissessar urged citizens to act on President Anthony Carmona’s advice at the ceremonial opening of Parliament on August 2 to “do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.”