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Port-of-Spain shuffle

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley may have generated more questions than answers to the changes he made in his cabinet lineup yesterday.

It was clear that he had to do something about Darryl Smith who had sought to be the “best performing minister” but who, to put it mildly, appears to have had performance issues.

Shifting Smith to the housing ministry that the PM will now head appears to be one way of keeping tabs on him while saving him from the ignominy of a firing.

The PM seems hesitant to fire people without giving them a chance to redeem themselves.

Take the case of Marlene McDonald who has had several reincarnations while still facing the prospect of an inquiry into her actions in former portfolios.

And what of Shamfa Cudjoe as Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs who many regarded as being out of her depth in the tourism ministry?

Is Cudjoe’s replacement in tourism expected to bring any new vibrancy to the ministry and put an end to the petty squabbles we have heard about?

None of the reaction has been positive and confirms the feeling that the PM had started out with a weak cabinet that did not have the capacity to deliver the kind of administration he promised.

Reshuffles are often expected to bring a new dynamism to the cabinet and give some ministers an opportunity to shine even brighter.

We are not convinced that yesterday’s changes will have that kind of impact.

Gender policy
Had it been fully in place, the National Policy in Gender and Development would have at least provided a basis for more level-headed discussions of two burning gender issues.

Yesterday’s protest by LGBTI activists outside Parliament and Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus’ revelation that there has never been a policy on sexual harassment in the public service, show up gaps and shortcomings on matters of gender that can potentially hinder progress in key areas.

The reality is that no framework currently exists in T&T to facilitate full and equal participation of men and women in the development process all because no political administration is willing to push past conflicts over sexual orientation and reproductive rights.

Ahye Ahye!

Tommy Joseph already has the chorus. He tried it out yesterday morning on Vibe CT105 as the morning team broke the news that our golden girl Michelle had just struck gold on the Gold Coast. It reminds us of Sparrow’s Penny when she won the Miss Universe crown in 1977.


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