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Rowley sacks Marlene; Prime Minister adds Public Utilities to his portfolio

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has sacked his Minister of Public Utilities Marlene McDonald, just two days after appointing her in the first place.

A release from the Office of the Prime Minister stated that Rowley “today advised President Anthony Carmona to revoke the appointment of Ms Marlene McDonald, Minister of Public Utilities with immediate effect.”

Photo: Port of Spain South MP Marlene McDonald (second from left) poses with alleged gangster Cedric Burke (third from left) and President Anthony Carmona (fourth from left) after her swearing in ceremony as Minister of Public Utilities on 30 June 2017.

Rowley is believed to have asked McDonald to resign on Saturday, less than 24 hours after she was sworn in by Carmona. The Port of Spain South MP apparently resisted.

The Office of the Prime Minister gave no reason for McDonald’s sacking but, almost certainly, it was related to her choice of guest at the swearing in ceremony as she turned up with Cedric “Godfather Burkie” Burke amongst her entourage.

Burke, 42, is the owner of Good Fellas Security and Burke and Company Ltd construction company. However, he is also touted as the president of the Rasta City gang and was arrested under the Anti-Gang legislation during the 2011 State of Emergency. He was also arrested, two years later, during a raid in Sea Lots when police described him as “a major player” in the area.

When Burke was arrested during the State of Emergency, police apprehended him at the Hyatt hotel where he had been paying in excess of TT$900 a night in cash during his stay.

McDonald insisted Burke was a good fellah—in the nicest sense of the word.

Photo: Former Housing and Urban Development Minister Marlene McDonald.
(Copyright Andy Hypolite/Trinidad Guardian)

“You noticed upstairs, I have two persons upstairs, and you know why I invited them here?” McDonald asked the media, rhetorically. “They are from East Port of Spain, from the Sea Lots area. They represent the best of what East Port of Spain has to offer.

“We are not just nobody or anybody, we are people, first and foremost.”

Rowley apparently disagreed. McDonald’s reappointment was controversial from the start, as she has dealt with her share of controversy related to benefits provided to her common-law husband, Michael Carew. The Trinidad Guardian suggested she is still under investigation from the Integrity Commission.

McDonald remains a MP and the PNM Deputy Political Leader while she also chairs at least one parliamentary committee.

Statement from the Office of the Prime Minister:

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has today advised President Anthony Carmona to revoke the appointment of Ms Marlene McDonald, Minister of Public Utilities with immediate effect.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
(Copyright News.Gov.TT)

Ms McDonald was recently sworn in as Minister in the Ministry of Public Utilities after a sixteen (16) month period of absence from the Cabinet.

The President has also been advised that the portfolio of Public Utilities should be assigned to the Prime Minister who will now assume these duties in addition to his other responsibilities.

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100 comments

  1. Lol. You know we ‘know’ but yet don’t know!
    Because I presume if the police actually had evidence to back up suspicion, they would have successfully charged him before.
    So as it stands, the man is just a hard working businessman. And stalwart of the community.

  2. he better be careful he dont get jailed.. he is a know criminal but playing boldface … only in trinidad yes

  3. Lawsuit in the making? Slander much? The man, for all intents and purposes, apparently has no charges or convictions against him?

  4. A case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. This situation did not sprout up overnight. I guess we could all speculate but we need to get the facts before passing judgement.

  5. The Prime Minister is in deep trouble before getting to two years in office ..

    • But when she was appointed, there was concern as her matter was outstanding since her last term.
      As much as she might be an asset to the party, she would have been a liability in government with the issue outstanding-low hanging fruit for the opposition.

  6. Yeah, know where to bring yuh goonies.

  7. Hmmm, well, the position of dpl of the PNM should be open soon if their systems work…or if they have a system for weeding out undesirables…pity our honourable PM took this long, but better late than never.

  8. Everyone: Burke, Marlene, gang, security
    Me: Rowley had other responsibilities other than galavanting and making arrogant and unprofessional statements? Well shit.

  9. Such is de age ole question…is doin ah right ting for de wrong reason ah right ting??…he shouldn’t have rehired her in de fus place!…so imma ease up on de plaudits fuh dis one…sorry

  10. Fire Sharron Felix as well.

  11. We need a bye election now remove her completely

  12. Isn’t this the same ex-judge who told us he had powers we didn’t know he had? Apparently he don’t possess enough powers to make a “community leader” tuck in his shirt in his pants. Even for a fella like me who cyah keep a wuck, I’ve never been good enough to be hired on Friday and fired on Sunday. Big Mac yuh good gyul; gots to give yuh dat. Mucho cajones!

  13. LOl back to Princess Elizabeth home

  14. call back dr amry browne.. make him a senator and givehim that minstry

  15. Well if things ger really bad, she could hol’ ah barbecue .

  16. Lasana in football it would have been called a corbeau sweat she get …lol

  17. Gives the term Guest-of-Honour’ a whole new twist eh 🙂

  18. They didn’t even give her a “ten days” this time; now da’s bad when ah MP cyah geh a ten days. HA

  19. Class is class….ass is ass!

  20. Well he did a good job manning would’ve praise him for that rowley getting there just some politically people in Pali ment keeping him back ward like the minister who said they build house in lagoon but port of Spain flooded today what she have to say now ,what she said in south this reach across the world some one told me then I know, if politicians can say this kind of things publicly what other politicians across the world think, ent they will say politicians in trinidad dunce headed of saying degrading statements like that bring down there own country like that politician’s statements politicians were there to serve not only colect a fat salery what u think the rest of the world is thing about trinidad now

    • I marvel with people who do not like the truth, these houses are build in lagoons and lower POS is reclaimed land from the sea so it is impossible to prevent flooding

  21. Well all I can say is that we just have to wait another few months or so before she gets another stint. This, as with the last, is dubious enough to not withhold scrutiny in the near future, both by the PM and probably by some of the public.

  22. She has no proper judgment, you walk on hot coals you going to get burn,I am so surprised after the last incident, you son know better.

  23. rowley must be cuss when he saw this photo. i know i would have!

  24. This is just to take your attention off of the elites Anthony bourdain showcased in his program. You can’t tell me the timing of this isn’t interesting.

  25. Wayyy. Is like Marlene went through the turbstile at the stadium or something and she end back up outside . Although you could argue that just getting into the turnstile was an achievement in itself

  26. Where is the President’s protocol and security personnel? So anyone can move freely and enter different areas without screening? How quickly we forget 1990

  27. Everyone do proud he fired her at once ! Why was she rehired in the first place

  28. Who is the man in yellow shirt and tie

  29. Them man can’t even do one job as prime minster he come and add a next portfolio

  30. Rowley boi yuh showed that yuh had some class how she cud ridicule you so

  31. Wait..this is real…I was now setting up myself for some satire..Oh well, the truth is more entertaining these days anyway!

  32. laaaaaard, Rowley going on ah next vacation

  33. Fella oh gord yo shut out yo pants! Oh gord yo did not feel out of place! Oh gorm Marlene, whe yo come from, yo know people looking on …….. shame on you. Mr Pres, if a person name is not on the list, them not to be there …. they should nit even be able to enter the gate. Oh gorm, how that looking! Dr. K Rowley you did the right thing …. !

  34. This was way overdue, what is that standing next to the president, has she no shame…. Im sure he is accustomed to putting his shirt in his pants for court….. Can’t she teach him decorum? Well that’s assuming she has some class herself and from the looks of it she does not

  35. His security company is called ‘Good fellas security’ ?? Nah man, Lol… My grandmother always say “watch the friends that you keep”… And “friends will take you but not bring you back”. I wonder if “good fella” was invited to her swearing out ceremony?

  36. This woman maybe didn’t want back the job in the first place so she did the unsensible ting to get booted for ever.

  37. What I have observed is that PNM sympathisers/supporters are more willing to speak out in condemnation against perceived wrong-doing by “their own” than other political sympathisers are inclined to do.

    • Actually, my experience has been different. Which is why I often go to the opposition page.
      Most of what I see on the OPM page is ‘good job PM’ and same for PNM page.
      Truthfully, I don’t care which party you support, if any, once we can discuss the issues!

    • Actually, my experience has been different. Which is why I often go to the opposition page.
      Most of what I see on the OPM page is ‘good job PM’ and same for PNM page.
      Truthfully, I don’t care which party you support, if any, once we can discuss the issues!

    • Each has their PR machinery as well as their “blind loyalists”. I was not referring to either of those categories. I do like the fact that more people are joining in on the national conversation thanks to social media, talk shows and other avenues of dialogue. One of the drawbacks of social media though is that sometimes, some are inclined to grab and run with soundbites failing to process and contextualize the facts…. still, I believe we are maturing as a people, we are a work in progress and I like that! It’s good… dialogue is good. Let’s keep talking… we’ll figure this thing out yet!

  38. Hence the need for recall she is still a high ranking member of the ruling party and an MP

  39. Trinbagonoians fedup ah de same ting ova an ova. doesn’t matter which administration is doing it!

  40. The thing is he was arrested during the SOE I believe it was but never convicted. He was a “known” “alleged” “community leader” to quote our lawyers who have argued themselves and clients out of worse. Then we have the 1% in addition to many other white collar financiers who many also “allege” to big fish and are never frowned upon.
    I agree the optics are bad and PR/ damage control has been done but it’s mighty hypocritical all things considered.
    It’s Trinidad though so it’s expected but it’s also shameful isn’t he not a citizen? Has he been convicted? Isn’t he with his MP.

    • Somehow, I don’t even think this was exclusively or as much about the gentleman per se as it was about the …well now Ex MP’ with respect to (i) the cloud (vapor or not) over her, (ii) this presidential protocol faux pas (iii) (perhaps) the overal optics so early in the gates! Here was her opportunity to set perhaps a fresh “tone” of what can be expected of her (administration). Unfortunately it somehow came off clumsily, bungled…too “in-your-face” and contemptuous… unfortunately.

    • Debs OnTarget that’s the literate point of view and I agree with points raised by you and Nerisha Mohammed but from general fb comments and memes in circulation people are focused on him and calling him Sea Lots King Pin and criminal, despite him having no convictions which is where I take issue

    • In all fairness, though, from what I understand, he is known to have a reputation.
      Which is a totally different discussion imo.
      Cause how many ppl are murdered, and we hear they were ‘known to the police’ and similarly never had convictions.
      Makes you wonder.
      Cause I recall there was a gentleman arrested during the SoE and everyone was up in arms over it, then a video started circulating with him robbing someone.
      What this tells me, though, is we are sending the wrong message.
      What we are (maybe) unconsciously selling is that crime pays.
      If in fact this gentleman is a known criminal, and has government contracts, and has not been charged or convicted of any crime, but rubs shoulders with ministers and president, then he is seen as socially acceptable.
      By the same token, we have ministers with on going police investigations and they are still holding office, probably till the end of their term, knowing how slow our wheels of justice turn. Thus continuing to prove different strokes for different folks.
      A young man was hauled into a police station for a fb rant perceived to be a threat against the PM. What about the conduct tantamount to the criminal element at Clico and HCU and so many others.
      We need our politicians to lead by example, and do what is right for the upcoming generation to inherit a society they can safely live among, where they can have freedom of opportunities.
      It sets the wrong tone when we accept conduct from one administration that we call others out on.
      We need to demand better from our leaders, regardless of who we support.

    • In all fairness, though, from what I understand, he is known to have a reputation.
      Which is a totally different discussion imo.
      Cause how many ppl are murdered, and we hear they were ‘known to the police’ and similarly never had convictions.
      Makes you wonder.
      Cause I recall there was a gentleman arrested during the SoE and everyone was up in arms over it, then a video started circulating with him robbing someone.
      What this tells me, though, is we are sending the wrong message.
      What we are (maybe) unconsciously selling is that crime pays.
      If in fact this gentleman is a known criminal, and has government contracts, and has not been charged or convicted of any crime, but rubs shoulders with ministers and president, then he is seen as socially acceptable.
      By the same token, we have ministers with on going police investigations and they are still holding office, probably till the end of their term, knowing how slow our wheels of justice turn. Thus continuing to prove different strokes for different folks.
      A young man was hauled into a police station for a fb rant perceived to be a threat against the PM. What about the conduct tantamount to the criminal element at Clico and HCU and so many others.
      We need our politicians to lead by example, and do what is right for the upcoming generation to inherit a society they can safely live among, where they can have freedom of opportunities.
      It sets the wrong tone when we accept conduct from one administration that we call others out on.
      We need to demand better from our leaders, regardless of who we support.

    • This I have no problem with certainly we need better leaders overall. Is the different strokes for different folks that is hypocritical to me.

  41. a.k.a. it wasn’ looking good… it wasn’ smellin good… it wasn’ songin’ good

  42. Oh Marlene….! what going on with you girl? some karmic cleansing needed? If only you could be mature enough especially politically) to admit everything that was wrong with this whole scenario…

    “It is famous for its precedence in establishing the principle that the mere appearance of bias is sufficient to overturn a judicial decision. It also brought into common parlance the oft-quoted aphorism “Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.” R v Sussex Justices, ex p McCarthy.

  43. Why did he allow the swearing in to continue- that is the question

  44. Whatever possessed the PM to rehire her in the first place?

  45. A comedy of errors, only in Trinidad.

    • But shouldn’t these things call his judgment into question?
      This entire scenario could have been avoided.
      Because in the first instance, if she was removed due to IC or police probe, and she has not been cleared, why was she reappointed.
      Thus, no need to invite alleged gang leaders.
      Now, appointment has been revoked, and no reason.
      Never mind the breaches at Presidents house.

    • So many questions, I await answers. Where in the world could such a breech in protocol at the President ‘s house occur.

  46. Huh eh! eh! How his imperial highness dress up so?

  47. If this man is so dangerous as is being claimed,then the special branch has questions to answer.

    • The President requested a report into the incident, from what I read.
      Now, if he wasn’t cleared to be there nor appropriately attired and not registered as her guest, how was she allowed to carry him in, as report indicated she escorted him inside.
      So a not yet minister dictating the pace?
      And if he was subsequently recognised, nobody bothered to whisper in the President’s ear?
      Nobody thought to block photo op?

  48. I mean Lasana, that brother is not even supposed to be standing that close to the President. Marlene should’ve been on the left of the President, her assistant to his right. This was a comedy of errors

  49. Might finally get the answer for the fire at wasa ?