Trinidad PM fires public utilities minister

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley fired his public utilities minister 24 hours after she was sworn in to the post by President Anthony Carmona Monday, July 3.

This was the second time that Marlene McDonald was sent packing by Rowley when she held the portfolio as Housing Minister some 15 months ago.

Her dismissal came following reports that one of her guest at the swearing-in was linked to a notorious gang in her constituency of South Port of Spain.

The president was advised to appoint Dr. Rowley as public utilities minister in the meantime in addition to his other responsibilities.

The guest, Cedric “Burkie” Burke, who had slipped past security at President’s House said he came to support and witness the swearing-in of his Member of Parliament. During the 2011 state of emergency Burke was detained and charged with being a gan leader but was later freed.

The prime minister had restored McDonald to ministerial office even as she was under active investigation by both the Integrity Commission and the police.

Questions had arisen over her alleged recommendation of public housing for her male companion, Michael Carew.

The former minister was also queried over donations from her ministry when she was minister in 2010 of TT$375,000 and TT$200,000 plus another sum to the Calabar Foundation, of which Carew was said to be a director. McDonald has assured all was above board.

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