Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner is to carry out the duties of Prime Minister of T&T during the absence of Kamla Persad-Bissessar from Sunday to July 12. This was revealed by Press Secretary to the Prime Minister Garvin Nicholas, while chairing yesterday's post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair. Warner, who is also vice-president of world football governing body Fifa, gets the additional responsibility days after a raging controversy over his ability to carry out the jobs as minister and a Fifa executive at the same time.
He was cleared on the advice of four legal experts. Persad-Bissessar will lead a T&T Government delegation, which includes Foreign Affairs Minister Suruj Rambachan and Trade and Industry Minister Stephen Cadiz to the 31st Regular Meeting of the heads of government in Montego Bay, Jamaica, from July 4 to July 7. Nicholas said the new T&T Prime Minister would address the opening ceremony on Sunday and would speak during the Human and Social Development session on the issue of crime and security. During her visit to Jamaica, Persad-Bissessar would also conduct "a working visit" to Kingston on the invitation of Prime Minister Bruce Golding, Nicholas added.
He said this exercise would take place between July 8 and 9. Nicholas said that after that visit, Persad-Bissessar is scheduled to visit Miami to spend some time with her family there and also attend a function on July 10. She would return home on July 12, he added. It will be Persad-Bissessar's first official visit abroad since being elected Prime Minister on May 24. And at least two government ministers have endorsed the Prime Minister's decision to authorise Warner to act in her absence. Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said Warner emerged as the candidate with the most votes in the May 24 general election and he was also the chairman of the largest unit of the People's Partnership administration– the United National Congress (UNC).
"He was therefore an obvious choice for this acting prime ministership and the Prime Minister in her wisdom chose him...We all congratulate him," Ramlogan said. Sport and Youth Affairs Minister Anil Roberts said the PM should be congratulated for "having the fortitude, the strength, the understanding and the care for the people to appoint a duly elected Member of Parliament to act as Prime Minister." See Page A11