(Trinidad Express) Minister of Works and Infrastructure Jack Warner has lost a large portion of his original portfolio to Transport Minister Devant Maharaj.
Under the new structure, Maharaj will now control 12 of the 14 relevant State boards, leaving Warner with just two.
Maharaj is responsible for all aspects of air transport, including the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago and the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority, as well as Caribbean Airlines Ltd and the Vehicle Maintenance Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (VMCOTT).
He will also be responsible for majority and minority-owned enterprises, such as the National Helicopter Services Ltd and the Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation (Plipdeco) and LIAT (1974) Ltd.
Warner has now been assigned authority over the National Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (Nidco) and the National Maintenance, Training and Security Company Ltd (MTS), and he is also responsible for the Programme for Upgra- ding Roads Efficiency (PURE).
The split is just one more bone of contention after last month’s Cabinet reshuffle.
Former minister of energy Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan was vocal about her reassignment to the Ministry of Public Administration, and the Congress of the People (COP) even delivered a letter to the Prime Minister outlining their unhappiness with the move.
Warner, in a brief telephone interview yesterday, said while anyone would be upset by a disproportional share, he was prepared to work for the country.
“The truth is that my portfolio has been downsized,” Warner said.
“I am aware of the way it was split, but I am also aware of what work I have to do,” he added.
Warner said he was not engaging in any “sour grapes”, so he was not going to worry about the split but was focusing on what still needed to be accomplished under the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure.
“I will still work with what I have,” he said.
Warner said he was not speculating on why the division was done in such a fashion but said he lost as much as four-fifths of his original ministry.
Maharaj, however, lavished praise on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for her decisions.
“The Prime Minister has been on track with all her decisions so far,” he said.
“She used the best strategy to win the election and has used the most competent people on State boards. In her track record, she has made the correct decisions,” he said.
When asked about any strained relationship between Warner and himself after this split, Maharaj denied any friction.
“I maintain a great relationship with all the members of Government,” he said.