Last update: 07-Dec-2013 3:12 am
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Rowley in knocking large Cabinet says: Return to polls only solution
Leader of the Opposition Dr Keith Rowley says yesterday’s Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was the clearest evidence of her People’s Partnership Government’s collapse in office, adding a return to the polls was the only option for T&T. “The Government has collapsed and the Prime Minister is totally out of her depth. The recent statement and Cabinet reshuffle provides all the proof we need,” Rowley said in a statement yesterday.
He said Persad-Bissessar was “a lame duck, operating now on incredulous utterances and insulting assertions.” Three major Cabinet reshuffles in just over 36 months, he said, “are evidence of a leader that is floundering.” Rowley said Persad-Bissessar’s Cabinet now has 41 ministers, the largest number in the nation’s history. “New ministries are invented, others are chopped up willy-nilly and still no one can justify these changes which cost the taxpayer unnecessary tens of millions,” he added.
He said the United States has the equivalent of 22 Cabinet members serving a population of 314 million people. “We are of the view that the size of the Cabinet and the number of ministers are absurd,” he said. Rowley said it was clear “we are in the throes of the most severe political and governance crisis that our country has ever seen. The country has lost all confidence in this Government and this Prime Minister.”
He was critical of Persad-Bissessar for claiming as her major achievements in office since 2010 the bailout of Clico, the issuing of food cards and distributing Housing Development Corporation (HDC) houses. He said that confirmed to even its greatest apologists that her government was grasping at straws, since all of those were in place before the People’s Partnership came into being.
“Clico was bailed out by the PNM under Patrick Manning. Houses being distributed now were built by the PNM. The introduction and use of food cards were long in operation before she became Prime Minister,” Rowley said. The Public Service and the entire state sector, he said, were constantly paying the price for having to deal with an unproductive Cabinet “merry-go-round machine” which was possibly one of the largest and certainly the most dysfunctional in the Commonwealth.
“The only way out of this misery and disastrous situation is at the polls in the next general election which is the only sane solution,” Rowley added.
Reshuffles concern chamber
The Chamber of Industry and Commerce has expressed “great concern” that the People’s Partnership Government has had three Cabinet reshuffles in three years. In a statement yesterday, the chamber said it also was concerned that Cabinet had been expanded to include an additional ministry, with an attendant increase in expenditure. It added: “We certainly hope that the expanded Cabinet would result in an equally expanded service delivery to the people of T&T.
“We reiterate our comments made following the last Cabinet reshuffle in 2012 that we hope that each minister will be able to adapt quickly to their new portfolios.” Saying the appointment of new National Security Minister Gary Griffith was particularly interesting, the chamber said it hoped with Griffith’s background in security he would be able to bring some tangible benefits for crime reduction.
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