Trinidad’s Prime Minister Sets New Record
After closing the year 2014 with the dismissal of more than a dozen of her cabinet ministers, Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has started 2015 on another firing spree. The leader of the Caribbean twin island republic earlier this week fired her attorney general and the national security minister over allegations that they had participated in witness tampering. In a televised address on Monday, Kamla PersadBissessar said she could not determine the truth of the allegations against the two officials but the accusations brought their offices “into disrepute.”
“Those office-holders preside over the administration of justice, law and order and so cannot remain in those positions while these investigations into allegations are made,” she said. She then went on to call for the immediate resignation of the director of the police complaints authority, David West, who she does not have the authority to fire.
Detectives in Port of Spain, Trinidad are investigating an alleged attempt by the fired attorney general, Anan Ramlogan, to pressure investigators into withdrawing a witness statement made in a defamation case brought against him by opposition leader Keith Rowley. Ramlogan has denied the accusations.
The National Security Minister Gary Griffiths was sacked because, according to the prime minister, he never informed her about a phone call that he made to the director of the police complaints authority to find out whether the witness statement had been withdrawn.
More than a dozen ministers have been fired by Kamla Persard-Bissesar since she assumed office in 2011 including Glenn Ramadharsingh. Another minister, the controversial Jack Warner, had demitted office of his own volition, amidst allegations of financial impropriety. Five other ministers were axed in response to specific allegations, including sports minister Anil Roberts who was allegedly caught on camera smoking weed in a major scandal last year. In May 2011, Mary King became the first minister to be dismissed in this government, following allegations of conflict of interest in the award of a contract. Next in line was Minister in the Ministry of National Security Collin Partap in August 2012, following allegations that he refused to take a breathalyser test after leaving a nightclub. One month later then Justice Minister Herbert Volney was fired for allegedly misleading the Cabinet over the Section 34 fiasco.
Apart from having a specific infraction levelled at them, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has also fired ministers for apparent nonperformance. In these instances she sighted “Cabinet reorganization” as the reason.
The latest government shake-up in Persad-Bissessar’s administration occurs during what is an election year in Trinidad and Tobago. General elections are due by September.
The prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago Kamla PersadBissesar.