Trinidad’s Prime Min­is­ter Sets New Record

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL - By STAR Re­porter

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.

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