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Panday: T&T has biggest Cabinet in the world
Former prime minister Basdeo Panday says Trinidad and Tobago now has “the biggest Cabinet in the world, per capita.” Panday said that in response to questions on Friday’s Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, which saw National Security Minister Brig John Sandy and Gender Affairs, Youth and Child Development Minister Verna St Rose-Greaves losing their jobs.
Former government minister Ganga Singh and three new ones, Jamal Mohammed, Marlene Coudray and Larry Howai are expected to be among those listed to take the oath of office tomorrow at 10 am at the Office of the President, Knowsley, Queen’s Park West.
Panday said he could not determine “the rationale behind the reshuffle.” He said under the system of governance in T&T, a prime minister usually moves a minister because he or she was not performing to the required standard. He said the responsibility of a minister “is not to do things but to get things done.” He said to achieve that, a minister must have the required leadership qualities.
“So if he is failing in one ministry without those qualities, how can he succeed in another,” Panday said. Panday said the reshuffle was intended to be a support mechanism for Persad-Bissessar. “It seems to me that the Prime Minister is trying to bolster up her position. She is getting frightful of her weakening position in office,” Panday said. He said the PM was seeking to achieve that objective “by creating a proliferation of ministers.”
The PP Cabinet now has 35 ministers. Panday said he could not understand why there should be a Ministry of Public Utilities and a separate ministry for Water Resources. Under the new dispensation, WASA has been removed from under the Public Utilities ministry and has been placed under the new ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, now headed by Ganga Singh.
Panday also said the removal of Winston Dookeran from Finance to Foreign Affairs was a “slap in the face for the COP (Congress of the People).” Panday said he did not think the exercise would benefit the country but was prepared to wait and see.
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