The PNM Government has reinstated Professor Kenneth Julien as head of the University of T&T (UTT) and also appointed NH International (Caribbean) executive chairman Emile Elias as chairman of the Telecommunication Services of T&T (TSTT).
Communication Minister Maxie Cuffie announced that at yesterday's weekly Government press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair.
Julien, often described as the "energy czar", due to his role in the development of Pt Lisas, now returns to the helm of the entity where he was UTT president under Patrick Manning's PNM administration.
He had been replaced at UTT by Curtis Manchoon after the People's Partnership administration took office.
Legal proceedings were later instituted against Julien and four other former UTT board members seeking to recover more than $11.4 million which the State claimed was lost because of alleged breach of fiduciary duty and failure to exercise due diligence.
This allegedly concerned the sub-leasing of the university's Aripo guest house with Consolidated Services Ltd for a five-year renewable lease at a monthly rental of $50,000, as well as accommodating Rev Juliana Pena, the spiritual adviser to former prime minister Patrick Manning.
In July, however, the State discontinued the proceedings and the case reportedly collapsed.
The appointment of Julien and Elias yesterday elicited mixed views from former PP ministers Dr Suruj Rambachan and Dr Tim Gopeesingh, now Opposition members.
But Communication Minister Cuffie, replying to media queries about Julien's reinstatement, said of the legal issues:
"He (Julien) came out of that with his integrity and reputation intact. The issues in the court case had floundered and based on testimony, the action was not brought against him by UTT but instigated by the then (PP's) attorney general.
"Dr Julien is a well acknowledged educator and someone who has done great service to T&T."
Last month, Government also appointed Julien to its Standing Energy Committee.
Other members of the UTT board announced yesterday are professor Clement Imbert, Shivan Ojah-Maharaj, Professor Hollis Liverpool, Marslyn Jack, Nicolette Moore, Winston Lalla and two others to be appointed.
Imbert, an engineering expert and UWI lecturer, is the uncle of Finance Minister Colm Imbert
Ojah Maharaj, niece of former PNM Toco-Sangre Grande MP Indra Ojah-Maharaj Sinanan and a relative of PNM deputy leader Rohan Sinanan, had been a PNM nominee for Toco/Sangre Grande in 2010.
Liverpool, better known as Chalkdust, is a well known educator.
On the TSTT board along with Elias are Ian Narine, Wendell Berkley, Kimberly Derriah and Judith Sobion.
Berkley is PNM's Tobago East chairman. Sobion has an executive management background. Narine is in asset management.
Cuffie said Elias was a well known businessman and has promoted the national interest through the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) and other entities in which he has been involved, including the Family Planning Association.
He said Elias had a resume that spoke to his commitment in T&T and possessed business acumen and it was based on that he was appointed.
Cuffie also announced Shaheed Hosein to chair the National Petroleum (NP) board.
Other members are Myrna Persad, Marcus Knaggs, David Alexander, Quincy Trim, Nadine Nabbie. Knaggs is a business executive who has been involved with the T&T Energy Guide
Also announced was Marvin Johncilla, a human resources specialist, to head the National Lotteries Control Board, Other members are Winfield Quamina, Kristine Lee King and Ria Joseph.
Government also appointed southern businessman Imtiaz Ahamed to chair the E-Tech Board. Other members are Judy Ramjohn, Eric Lewis, Arnold de Four, Randall Karim and Kelvon Morris,
Also appointed was Ulric Warner to head the National Quarries board. Other board members are Shazad Mohammed, Wanda Clarke, Roger Rajan and Dons Waithe.
Former PP minister Dr Suruj Rambachan commenting on Julien's reinstatement, said:
"It's clear the old PNM guard has come back to take over the affairs of T&T. The display of youth by the PNM was just a masquerade and you are now seeing the real PNM power brokers emerging to take over.
"So clearly we are in for repetition, more of the same-old, same-old. We warned T&T this would take place if the PNM won government and it's coming to pass.
"We are also seeing other things we warned about happening, job loss. One steel company sent home almost 300 workers this week and we are also seeing 'cleansing' occurring in URP where defeated PNM candidates are taking up posts."
On the appointment of Elias to TSTT, Rambachan added: "Mr Elias has been known as a PNM sympathiser and there's no reason why he shouldn't be rewarded for this."
However, his colleague, former minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh hailed the appointment of Elias as a "great move."
Gopeesingh added: "I never supported the idea of a former police commissioner being chairman of TSTT and I have made statements to that effect.
"This is a company that needed great help and I think Mr Elias has great management capacity to change things."