Home / Live Wire / Le Hunte is off; Rowley’s new Public Utilities Minister replaced after another cock-up

Le Hunte is off; Rowley’s new Public Utilities Minister replaced after another cock-up

So Watson Duke was not the only son of the Sister Isle to make a fool of himself today.

For the second straight time, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was forced to backtrack on the appointment of his Public Utilities Minister after admitting that Robert Le Hunte, a Ghanian citizen, did not qualify to be appointed to the Senate.

Photo: The recently un-appointed Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte.

A release from the Office of the Prime Minister indicated that Le Hunte’s presumed dual-citizenship got in the way of his swearing-in at President’s House today:

“It has come to the attention of the Honourable Prime Minister that Mr Robert Le Hunte is a citizen of Ghana and accordingly he is not qualified under section 42(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to be appointed as a Senator.

“Accordingly, the Honourable Prime Minister has so informed the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

“Mr Le Hunte will be rectifying his position and once this is done the Honourable Prime Minister will appoint him as a Senator and as Minister of Public Utilities. Under these circumstances, until the matter is rectified, the Honourable Prime Minister will assume the portfolio of Minister of Public Utilities.

“It is expected that this situation will be rectified by Friday 1 September 2017.”

The faux pas meant that Le Hunte’s first stint as Public Utilities Minister was almost as short as that of his predecessor, Marlene McDonald, who barely managed take the oath and pose for photos with ‘Godfather Burkie’ before she got her walking papers.

Photo: In an expected and welcome turn of events, “Godfather Burkie” has allegedly turned his back on his supposedly lawless ways to become a full-time meme.

JIn case you’re wondering, section 42(1) states:

“No person shall be qualified to be appointed as a Senator who—(a) is a citizen of a country other than Trinidad and Tobago having become such a citizen voluntarily or is under a declaration of allegiance to such a country…”

Wait, does anyone in the PNM ever conduct ‘due diligence’? What? How do you mean you don’t speak Greek?!

Sigh. At this rate, Christian Mouttet might as well widen his probe on the government’s internal selection processes to the head of the Cabinet.

No wonder successful private sector executives pull a face when asked to serve in Government. The reality of public service is far removed from the sales pitch.

Something like being called on stage for ‘just a little wine’ by Destra.

Photo: I jes cool Lucy. I can’t afford another hip…
(Courtesy Islandistas.com)

Live Wire is uncertain whether the Prime Minister needs to be sworn back in to serve as Public Utilities Minister until Le Hunte “rectifies” his Ghanian citizenship. God knows Keithos deserves someone swearing at him right now.

AboutMr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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302 comments

  1. Wait a minute…wasnt this man a born Trinidadian that got dual citizenship when he took residency in Ghana years ago because of his job??SMH.He is not the only person that has dual citizenship.

  2. There is a serious article in today’s Guardian by Rosemarie Sant page A6..
    “EX-DIPLOMAT ON LE HUNTE ISSUE: SLAP IN FACE TO GIVE UP GHANA HONOUR’

  3. The presentation and farce of “multiple loyalties” by don’t of citizenships

  4. Just overlook the typos. My fingers seem to be overlapping the small keys on my phone.

  5. You people are commenting on due deligence
    Let’s comment on all the Sandals of Kamala’s stewardship. All the money stolen from the public purse. Not on a man who has so far had no crime against his name. Dual citizenship is not a cre only that he has to give up the other to take IP the job position. Let’s focus on real issues that affects us like the state recovering dome if not all the money stolen by the former ministers.

    • Their eyes too blind to see, just check out the language of some of these ppl who make comments it’s ludicrous, unintelligent, nasty racist, name it you get it and that says a whole lot about these individuals, can’t even make a sensible Comment without calling others names, cursing, belittling themselves whilst they are too numb to understand what they put out only shows the world who & what they are. Many empty vessels.

    • You see them for what they truly are.

    • But by Ghanian law, you cannot serve in most positions there if you have citizenship elsewhere. So why would they not understand the reason that Le Hunte gives up his citizenship?
      I’m not really convinced by that former high commissioner.

    • The article mentions he was honoured twice, first with citizenship in Dec 2016 and another, more recent honour where he was recognized by the gov’t.
      Seeing that both events are of relative recency, they may have had hopes for his continuing contribution to their country.
      Ergo, slap in face.
      Not sure how much backlash there might be, if any, though.

    • Hhmm..slap in the face for them, but not for TT..hhmm

    • Seems a bit of an overreaction from the High Commissioner. Is he suggesting that Hunte should give up the opportunity to serve his country in exchange for a perceived “slap in the face”? Steups!

  6. Really sorry for the bungling .He has the potential to improve

  7. I prefer a Prime Minister who makes inocent errors than one who is corrupt. We all make mistakes because we are human. He didn’t commit a crime. That man seems to be a decent man who he attempted to appoint as a minister. We need to allow the man the run the country. We gave Kamla 5 years which was full I’d corruption starting from the head. How quickly we forget.

    • Inga is not by your appearance you does get the job.if that was the case then the govt wouldn’t have anyone.

    • Ok – Do you know anything about this man outside of his dual citizenship that affects his suitability for the Post. We must not smear people’s character without justifiable evidence – It’s called Character Assassination.

    • I am really sorry for the bungling I hope things work out and he is reinstated to office and help to improve our utility service I think that he is a good man for the job

    • What ah khow is that he is not honestly accepting the position.and you know that’s true.so l will class u as .same.

    • You need to look past your Politial bias. I still await your evidence of corruption where this man is concern. Not revealing that you hold dual citizenship do not constitute a crime. Of you want to know what a crime is – ask Anand Ramlogan why he ask Mr West to lie for a bribe of Job stability. That is a crime – there are still Good intelligent people I’m this country that would not allow wool yo be pulled over their faces. Enough of Kamla and her corrupt ministers.I look forward to more arrests in the near future of the others who think they will always get away with their corruption.

    • Forgive the typos. My fingers seem to be overlapping on other keys.

    • Trinidadians do have short memories…every week was, as they called them, missteps..now they looking for every thing to complain about. .I find they are doing a very good job as the Opposition..even opposing some of the things that they themselves implemented…

    • “Looking for every thing to complain about”? Would that be your response to Tobagonians who are suffering because of this ferry scandal?
      And is Rowley being better than Kamla something to boast about? Because that isn’t a high bar and I’d like to think that even the most ardent PNM supporter would want more from their Prime Minister than to merely be better than the one who just got voted out of office.

    • The Tobago fiasco is unfortunate but after listening to the whole speech as to why it has we ended up in this situation I support his decision 100%. You see the State should never give in to blackmail even if it means some temporary inconveniences because it only leaves room for others to think they can get the Government to hand over our tax dollars if they threaten to withhold important services. A precedent must be set. Sometimes to get meaningful changes you have to take a stand even if it means having to withstand temporary inconveniences. To answer your other question no I expect much more than him being merely better than Kamla. However he has not done anything that suggests to me that he just wants to be merely a notch above het. He is making a difference in his stance against corruption. His handling of the economy I think is going ok because he came into power when the economy in recession and I am quite willing to let him use his first 5 years to put his strategies in place to turn the economy around. When Mr Robinson was in Power in 1986 when tough decisions had to be made to see us through that period the Panday fraction mislead this country into believing that Robinson was wicked when in fact he was a good Prime Minister who had to ensure that the Government of the day manage the economy with the scarce resources that was availability at that time. The same thing is happening again but I stand with my Prime Minister who is trying really hard to bring about meaningful change to the way things are done when Political parties takes Office and their Ministers have a feeding party with the Public purse. We had five years of corruption now give him the opportunity to make changes without judging him prematurely. He may make some errors along the way and he has but making mistakes are being human however when you do something in Office for the personal benefits of whom you choose that is not in the Public interest and can be deemed illegal then that’s corruption. Therefore let’s give him a fair chance unless we have clear cut proof the he is guilty of using his Office for corrupt activities.

    • The whole idea if loud mouthing for the public is to see how much of the corruption the ppl of this country forget. All empty vessels who couldn’t prove themselves worthy of anything clear cut, unbiased, unblemished, honest, reliable, steadfast, because they all leaning on the side that T&T is a 9 days wonder country and that many have forgotten all the ills. Trinidadian need to be truthful and honest about things, see it for what it is, not through the eyes of race, religion and politics then they be set for a better country, it’s the we factor killing this small nation, yet when you read it’s hate, racism, bitterness. What a sad bunch in a such small island.

  8. I appreciate the article but I respectfully wish to submit to you that the statement of the Tobago son is quite out of place and downright derogatory and quite indicative of the very thought process that Mr Duke hinted to. Trinidad is and island just like Tobago is. Together we make one country , the better than them syndrome not working.

    • What I am curious about, the release from the OPM, I think it was, when listing his background, nothing stood out for me as to what makes this person the only apparent person to head this particular ministry.
      Can anyone enlighten me?

    • He was on the BOD of UDECOTT, he knows how the system works

    • I still don’t see that as making him THE person to head a ministry of Public Utilities.
      And this is rather curious. If from the standpoint of Rep Bank , there is a significant investment there, he seems to hold a position of some weight, isn’t that position seemingly better for our benefit, rather than have him as a minister?

  9. Ghana Citizenship Act 2000:
    Section 10—Citizenship by Registration
    (1) A citizen of age and capacity of any approved country may upon an application, and with the approval
    of the President, be registered as a citizen of Ghana if he satisfies the Minister that—
    (a) he is of good character;
    (b) he is ordinarily resident in Ghana;
    (c) he has been so resident throughout the period of five years or such shorter period as the Minister
    may in the special circumstances of any particular case accept, immediately before the application;
    and
    (d) he can speak and understand an indigenous language of Ghana.
    (2) A person who is not a citizen and is or was married to a citizen may, upon an application in the
    prescribed manner, be registered as a citizen.
    (3) Subsection (2) applies to an applicant who was married to a person who was a citizen at the time of
    the death of that person.
    (4) Where the marriage of a person registered as a citizen under subsection (2) is dissolved, the person
    shall continue to be a citizen unless the citizenship is renounced.
    (5) A child of the marriage of a person registered as a citizen under subsection (2) shall continue to be a
    citizen unless the child renounces the citizenship.
    (6) Where upon an application for registration under subsection (2) it appears to the Minister that the
    marriage had been entered into primarily for the purpose of obtaining the registration, the Minister
    shall request the applicant to establish that the marriage was entered into in good faith.
    (7) In the case of a man seeking registration, subsection (1) applies only if the applicant is permanently
    resident in Ghana.
    (8) A person shall not be registered as a citizen unless he has taken the oath of allegiance.

  10. We need a minister for my company . We almost had Marlene which would have been a disaster (for me for sure) . So let Le Hunte be appointed again . Marlene had two chances so give him two also .

  11. Go back Ghana Please pnm will make you a very sad man

  12. This remind me about a magistrate who resign to take up a judge position and was ask to resign that to lost she wok .now dat a dog and d bone story , Le hunter is d same thing PNM at its best

  13. Only mumbling and bungling. Lord help us

  14. Today’s Newsday:
    Rowley yesterday cleared the air on the matter, saying Le Hunte is a TT national who was on temporary assignment in Ghana.

    “While he was there, he obtained in part of his residency and acceptance in the community, he obtained Ghanaian citizenship.” Rowley dismissed the recent faux pas surrounding Le Hunte’s appointment as a “communication glitch.” “There was a communication glitch in the handling of that development and by having that in place it offended our Constitution,” he said. “That is easily rectified and by him revoking his appointment to preserve his position in Trinidad and Tobago and qualify him to hold the office for which he has been selected for.” Asked if Le Hunte had provided him with details about his status a a TT citizen, Rowley told reporters: “I have just provided it.” Pressed to elaborate, he added: “I am saying it was a development that the communication which would have prevented it (appointment) from happening, the communication went awry and it has to be done over.

    “ So, a few days of doing over and it will be all right. You couldn’t provide it before you knew what happened.” The Prime Minister made it clear that Le Hunte will be re-appointed “So, a rectification is taking place so that we comply with the requirements of the Constitution and it is my intention to re-appoint him as soon as that is done.

    That will take 72 hours or thereabouts.”

  15. Maven, it was about Govt distraction on Anand issue etc etc…

  16. Wvhat are fuad’s theories,,?

    • ““He is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, so let me make that very clear, he is not a Ghanaian, he is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago who did temporary assignment in Ghana. While he was there he obtained in part of his residency and acceptance in the community he obtained citizenship, there was a communication glitch in the handling of that development,” the PM said.”” What utter rubbish

    • Savitri Maharaj how can a communication glitch hand you a foreign passport. I better go to the US EMbassy there and try that glitch and see how dem handle dat development.

    • Sorry, but that piece not even worthy of a comment. Does the PM think the nation is stupid?

      • Earl Best

        Not the piece, Nerisha. That’s a classic case of shooting the messenger.

        It’s the PM’s continuing bungling that should be beneath contempt, not the reportage and/or commentary it spawns.

  17. And they want to check normal citizens background inside out before they could get a lil KFC work but the big boys with all the subjects you could think about ain’t getting no background check stupess that is why the government will constantly embarrass themselves because of lack of common sense.

  18. Trinis have a 10 days memory by next week the minister will grant him citizenship under low and by next month he will hold office

  19. Lasana Liburd, not your forte, neither mines, but just skimming through all 500+ pages of the Uff Report, very instructive. Appendix 13, in particular

  20. Brian Harry, were you on the UDECOTT Board in 2004?

  21. a simple background check would have indicated his citizenship. are Rowley’s people stupid?

  22. There is very little difference between this appointment and Marcia Ayers-Caesar’s imo.

  23. So is he currently unemployed?

  24. Marlene still holding the record I think.