While the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) says it’s praying for ex-minister Marlene McDonald’s health, the party has also stressed that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has been vehement in denouncing corruption and wrong-doing.
Party public relations officer Laurel Lezama issued a statement yesterday officially acknowledging deputy leader McDonald’s situation as she “traverses this difficult part of her life’s journey.”
McDonald was slapped with seven charges on Sunday night after police arrested she and her common-law husband, Michael Carew, last Thursday.
The PNM stated, “While undoubtedly saddened by this turn of events, the party is thankful for the yeoman service Ms. McDonald has provided, both as a Deputy political leader with responsibility for legislative matters and as the Port of Spain South MP for the past 12 years. The Party also recalls with gratitude her stint as Chief Whip in the House of Representatives during the Opposition years of 2010-2015.”
The PNM stated that the matters for which McDonald and the others are charged allegedly occurred “many years” before she was appointed to the Rowley administration in 2015 and for which McDonald was twice exonerated by the Integrity Commission.”
“That notwithstanding, the PNM has long stood on the side of the law, and particularly under the stewardship of Dr Rowley, has been vehement in its denunciation of corruption and wrongdoing, irrespective of the perpetrator’s creed, colour, social status, gender or political affiliation.”
The statement continued: “In this regard, and mindful the matter is now before the courts, the party wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the independence of the major stakeholders in this ongoing situation - the Police Service, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Judiciary. It is in the strengthening of that independence, and the timely execution of their functions, that confidence will be reposed once again in our institutions, and the new society of which our political leader speaks, will be created.”
McDonald’s colleagues again rallied around yesterday, following word that she seemed ill.
Communication Minister Donna Cox said she had business near St Clair Medical Centre and would pass to see if she could see McDonald.
Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon who was near the Centre - en route to her dentist, she said - added that McDonald was a PNM member and “We all need to be concerned for her well being, we must support her and the Government has to go on.”
McDonald’s Parliamentary colleague, Dr Lovell Francis said on a social media post, he knew a different person to the sometimes gruff politician people thought McDonald was.
“The charges against my colleague are serious and there’s no way around that fact. She’ll have her day in court and evidence will dictate the outcome,” he said.