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PM stands by decision to reappoint Marlene

Saturday, March 10, 2018

In the face of questions whether new Minister Marlene McDonald has been cleared by the Integrity Commission and police, Prime Minister Keith Rowley yesterday stood by his decision to reappoint her to Government.

Rowley deflected a query on the issue in Parliament yesterday.

He recently appointed McDonald a Minister in the Public Administration /Communication Ministry. It’s her third posting after two appointments and two removals.

UNC MP Barry Padarath yesterday asked if Rowley had received information from the Integrity Commission— which had been probing a matter against her— and/or the Fraud Squad that McDonald was no longer the subject of a probe and has been cleared of all alleged wrong-doing and misconduct.

Rowley replied, “The last time I checked, the responsibility for appointing people in the Cabinet lies with the Prime Minister and I’m not aware that it’s circumscribed by any correspondence to or from the Integrity Commission.”

Rowley didn’t comment on the police. The latter last week confirmed a probe was still on concerning McDonald and allegations regarding the Calabar Foundation.

On whether PNM MP Maxie Cuffie—recuperating from a stroke—continues receiving a ministerial salary indefinitely, Rowley said he hadn’t acted to change Cuffie’s ministerial terms and conditions.

Dismissing perception that Cuffie was being denied financial aid for his medical costs, Rowley said a decision was taken to provide assistance to a certain limit.

On Wednesday’s meeting with Muslim groups, Rowley said he’d tried to speak with as many persons as possible “on the responsible side.”

“I issued invitations and virtually all who were invited made it their business to attend. We had a very successful meeting.”

He added, its purpose was largely to deal with dissatisfaction and misinformation “being pedalled” after security services picked up people of interest recently.

“People were beginning to encourage members of the national community to accept or behave as though something specific had happened to them because of their religious persuasion,” he said, adding he immediately addressed the issue.

On Tobago business people’s proposed two-day shutdown, Rowley said he’d advise the island’s business people it would be better to “keep their businesses open.”


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