Trinidad PM fires Housing Minister

Marlene McDonald

Prime minster Rowley reshuffles cabinet

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley on Thursday fired Marlene McDonald from the post of Minister of Housing and Urban Development,revoking her appointment and making several other shifts in his cabinet.

McDonald, the Port of Spain South Member of Parliament and former minister of housing and urban development has been accused of breaching parliamentary rules when she hired relatives to work in her constituency office.

McDonald who was fired on Thursday, had come under intense pressure after the chairman of the non-government organisation, Fixin T&T Kirk Waithe claimed that she had as far back as 2008 abused her ministerial power to facilitate a Housing Development Corporation (HDC) home for her husband, Michael Carew.
While the Integrity Commission had investigated the matter and cleared her of the allegation, Waite said he had obtained new information and called on the body to re-open the probe.
Last week, Waithe said he also received information from the Parliament which showed that Carew and a director of the Calabar Foundation was employed at the Housing Minister’s Port-of-Spain South constituency office for five years, while Michael’s brother, Lennox Carew, still worked at the MP’s office.

McDonald’s dismissal, six months into the new Government’s term, has made her the first minister of the Rowley People’s National Movement (PNM) administration to be removed. She has been replaced by Randall Mitchell, who formerly held the post of Public Administration Minister.

In a statement last night, Government announced the changes to the Cabinet which were made following McDonald’s dismissal.

With Mitchell replacing McDonald in Housing, his former Public Administration portfolio has been added to Cuffie’s Communication responsibilities. Cuffie will now be Minister of Public Administration and Communication. Young has been assigned as Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, in addition to his current portfolio as Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General, where he serves alongside Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.

 

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