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Verna blanks Kamla’s Costa Rica offer
Convinced that she had delivered, sacked Gender Affairs, Youth and Child Development Minister Verna St Rose-Greaves has rejected outright an offer from Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to be appointed as this country’s Ambassador to Costa Rica. St Rose-Greaves said this in an interview with CNC3 and the Sunday Guardian yesterday, hours after her dismissal from the Cabinet.
In an address to the nation on Friday, Persad-Bissessar said St Rose-Greaves was being replaced by San Fernando Mayor Marlene Coudray. “I was offered an ambassadorial position in Costa Rica, which I chose not to take because I didn’t come into government to go to Costa Rica,” she said. “The Prime Minister asked me to come into government to do a specific task.”
St Rose-Greaves said the ministry was established to address issues such as women’s rights, gender development, reducing discrimination and the protection of children. “So it is really not a problem for me if it is that they no longer desire me to do that particular job. But I wasn’t looking for a job so I wouldn’t be going anywhere else.
“So if we have to part our ways, then so be it. But I wasn’t really looking for a job. There was work to be done and I wanted to do the work and the work is being done.” She said, “Change frightens people, maybe change was happening too fast and female leadership is still quite new in the region and is difficult for a lot of people.”
St Rose-Greaves said she had “no regrets whatsoever” for serving just about one year in the PP government. She said she brought the Children Bill, which was passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate and was to be proclaimed shortly. She said that she “would have liked to have overseen the proclamation of the legislation.”
Greaves said, “I have run the first leg of this relay, somebody else will run the second, third and fourth. I have done my part.” The outgoing minister said she was not surprised by the decision to remove her from office. “Nothing in this country surprises me, it was not a surprise at all,” she insisted.
Responding to questions on her position against the execution of the death penalty in T&T and the expressed support for it by new National Security Minister Jack Warner, St Rose-Greaves said, “The one thing that I am sure of, my voice will not be silenced. Death will have to silence me.”
She said her outspokenness “sometimes poses a problem to a lot of people but it is important for people to understand the value of their voice and to use it.” St Rose-Greaves said yesterday she was certain her removal from the Cabinet had nothing to do with the forced transfer and detention of accounting officer Cheryl Miller from her ministry to the St Ann’s hospital.
Miller was subsequently freed in a High Court ruling, after an independent medical officer said nothing was wrong with her. “There are those who chose to use it (Miller issue) to their own advantage but I don’t think it played a part (in my removal as minister),” St Rose-Greaves said. She said she would continue her social work on television and in the communities and towns across the country and the region.
Meanwhile, Nicole Dyer-Griffith confirmed she was no longer a Senator. She said her position was given to another Congress of the People member, Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed. Dyer-Griffith said the Prime Minister spoke with her but she was not at liberty to disclose the contents of that discussion.