Unlike Guyana, T&T holds ministers responsible for their actions

Dear Editor,

It seems as if Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, is a no nonsense Prime Minister, and President Donald Ramotar should take a page out of her book and deal with his ministers when they slip up and do not live up to the high office of a minister of government.

PM Persad-Bissessar last Tuesday fired Glen Ramadharsingh, Minister of the People and Social Develop-ment following a report of disorderly conduct by him while he was a passenger in an aircraft from Tobago to mainland Trinidad. The Minister was accused of assaulting a flight attendant and threatened to make representation to have her dismissed.

Although the Minister apologized for his actions which he said were owing to the fact that he was “tired and stressed out,” the Prime Minister said that his behaviour was unacceptable and she could not tolerate ministers acting in such a manner. Another minister, Jack Warner, left of his own volition amidst allegations of financial impropriety, following the Concacaf Ethics Committee report.

Out of the 11 fired, four were axed in response to specific allegations.  In May 2011, Mary King became the first minister to be dismissed 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. A month later Justice Minister Herbert Volney was given the boot for allegedly misleading the cabinet over the interpretation of a new law.  A few were dismissed for non-performance.

It is somewhat different in the Co-operative Republic because a senior minister who a month ago  crashed his car into another vehicle left the scene after the collision and there were allegations that he was under the influence of alcohol.

It seems as if no prosecution will be brought for careless or dangerous driving or driving under the influence of alcohol. I seem to recall that several years ago another minister drove away after he was involved in a road accident and no action was taken against him.

Apart from road accidents involving ministers there are several allegations of wrongdoing by government ministers, but as far as I am aware there has been no proper investigation into these allegations.

 

Yours faithfully,
Oscar Ramjeet

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