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Wrong call, Mr PM

Published: 
Saturday, March 3, 2018

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s decision to bring Port-of-Spain South MP Marlene McDonald back as a minister is certainly cause for concern and it has been talk of the town, as John Public tries to come to terms with the puzzling decision.

And the reason is quite simple. As far as we know, the investigations by both the Integrity Commission and T&T Police Service into allegations of misbehaviour in public office by Ms McDonald remain open.

Furthermore, the other major infraction which led to McDonald’s demise in her second, and very brief, incarnation as a minister—fraternisation with the unsavoury characters and the PM’s sound roasting of McDonald for it—also remains fresh in the national psyche. So while the PM, in defending his decision, has suggested everyone deserves a second chance (or, in this case, a third one), he certainly owes it to the citizenry to properly explain his decision.

No one is necessarily denying McDonald is worthy of holding a ministerial position, since based on her political and ministerial past she is one of the more seasoned party members to hold such portfolio. But how does Rowley, having promised during the campaign trail to do things transparently and differently to the previous People’s Partnership government, justify returning McDonald to the innermost belly of his Cabinet with these allegations still hanging over her head? From where this newspaper stands, unless the PM has received information which has exonerated Ms McDonald, which he also has a duty to reveal publicly, this is the wrong call.

Where is emergency plan?

This week’s landslide event on the Lady Young Road in Morvant has once again raised the importance of an emergency evacuation plan for Port-of-Spain.

While the incident was not a major disaster, it led to a string of events which ultimately caused traffic gridlock for hours not only in and out of the capital but within the city as well, due to the blockage of one of its main road arteries.

Any proper emergency evacuation plan for the city would entail a traffic management system which should be operationalised to ensure that what happened doesn’t happen again. Once we have one, the emergency response bodies would merely have had to initiate the traffic management system to reduce the impact of any major route blockage. Clearly we are not there yet.

TKR looking good

This newspaper congratulates reigning Hero Caribbean Premier League champions Trinbago Knight Riders on the finalisation of a strong squad for the 2018 edition. Captain Dwayne Bravo had already ensured he had the nucleus of his side retained long before Thursday’s player draft in England. However, management made some further player buys to shore up what seems a formidable side. Good luck this season, TKR.

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