Two T&T ministers to be axed in reshuffle

(Trinidad Express) At least two Government ministers are expected to be removed from the Cabinet in the first reshuffle during the Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration, sources confirmed yesterday.

Sources said Health Minister Therese Baptiste-Cornelis and Public Administration Minister Rudrawatee Nan Ramgoolam are to be relieved of their Cabinet portfolios, creating in the process two senatorial vacancies.

Two new faces will join the government, sources confirmed.

They are social activist Verna St Rose Greaves who is expected to be sworn in tomorrow as Gender Affairs Minister and Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) chairman Devant Maharaj who is expected to be appointed Transport Minister.

Jack Warner will remain as Works Minister.

Both Baptiste-Cornelis and Ramgoolam were former lecturers at the Lok Jack Graduate School of Business before entering the Cabinet last year.

Sources said Barataria/San Juan MP Dr Fuad Khan, who held the reins of Deputy Speaker for the past year, is tipped to become the new Minister of Health.

Khan, a urologist, served as a minister in the ministry of health under the Basdeo Panday United National Congress (UNC) administration.

The other major change to the Cabinet will see Energy Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan being moved to take over from Ramgoolam as Public Administration Minister, sources said.

Parliamentary Secretary in the Energy Ministry Kevin Ramnarine has been tipped to replace Seepersad-Bachan as Minister of Energy.

Asked about the reshuffle, Ramgoolam said yesterday: “I don’t have a clue what you are talking about. I wish I had a clue.”

Asked if she was not up at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s with the entire Cabinet, she said: “Not yet. I have some work to do.”

Told that she was being named as one of those likely to be affected by the reshuffle, she reiterated: “I don’t know. I don’t have a clue.”

Asked if she was aware of any changes which might affect her, she said: “No. I don’t know anything.”

Baptiste-Cornelis has had a rough ride as Minister of Health.

She was thought to be somewhat confrontational and her battle with the Medical Professionals Association of Trinidad and Tobago did not help her position, especially since as a neophyte in the political arena, she lacked political clout.

Sources said other changes to be made within the Cabinet include the creation of a Ministry of Transport.

Public Transport Service Corporation chairman Devant Maharaj is tipped for this position, which would see the splitting of the Ministry of Works and Transport, currently held by Jack Warner.

Tourism Minister Rupert Griffith is to be moved to a newly created Ministry of Information while Rodger Samuel, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, is tipped to become Tourism Minister, sources said.

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