Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal has dismissed as "wild speculations," allegations that Jack Warner's ministerial portfolio was downsized because Cabinet colleagues were envious of his growing popularity. Moonilal was responding to an article in yesterday's Sunday Guardian in which "sources" claimed that Warner's former Ministry of Works and Transport was cut down to Ministry of Works in order to put a check on his growing popularity. The sources claimed that Warner's popularity was beginning to overshadow that of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Moonilal, in an interview yesterday, said: "It is regrettable. They are wild speculations. "Warner is a very energetic and committed member of our team." Moonilal said perennial problems in the area of drainage and infrastructure had plagued the national community, particularly in rural areas. He said Warner was given a very challenging ministry and the Government was very confident about his delivery in this area. "The Works Ministry remains one of the biggest in the country. If that is downsizing, what would upsizing be?" he asked.
Moonilal also recalled that when the Works and Transport Ministry was split in 2008, it led to enormous success in both areas and caused millions of dollars to be saved. He said Persad-Bissessar engaged in deep consultation with all Cabinet members and members of the People's Partnership coalition before her Government's recent Cabinet reshuffle. "This was unprecedented in the history of our Westminster style politics," Moonilal said. "No other prime minister has done this before."