People’s National Movement (PNM) political leader and Diego Martin West MP Dr Keith Rowley was sworn in as prime minister for a second successive term this afternoon while Faris Al-Rawi retained the portfolio of attorney general and is also minister of legal affairs.
Other high profile returnees were: Port of Spain North/St Ann’s West MP Stuart Young as minister of national security and minister in the office of the prime minister, and Diego Martin North/East MP Colm Imbert, St Joseph MP Terrance Deyalsingh and Tobago West MP Shamfa Cudjoe as minister of finance, minister of health and minister of sport and community development respectively.
Rowley said there were many suggestions offered for the post of minister of finance, but he did not feel it was the appropriate time for change.
“At this point we can hardly do better [than Imbert],” said Rowley. “[…] This is not the time for experimenting.”
In the change column, St Ann’s East MP Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, the former minister of community development, culture and the arts, is now minister of education with new D’Abadie/O’Meara MP Lisa Morris-Julian also serving in that ministry. Incoming Arima MP Pennelope Beckles is now minister of housing and urban development, while Senator Amery Browne is the new minister of foreign affairs.
Former Minister of Communications Donna Cox now assumes the position of minister of social development and family services.
Browne, the former ambassador to Brazil, is in quarantine at present, following his trip home, and will be sworn in next week.
Rowley said he has ‘put the nation’s children in the hands of two mothers’ as he noted the difficult job ahead for Gadsby-Dolly and Morris-Julien who must oversee ‘the radical reform of the country’s curriculum’—as schools still try to adjust to life in the Covid-19 pandemic.
He urged his education ministers to return civics to the school curriculum, so as to prepare children for ‘citizenship’.
Tobago East MP Ayanna Webster-Roy continues with the portfolio of gender and child affairs within the Office of the Prime Minister while the Ministry of Communications is now absorbed by the Office of the Prime Minister and will be run by Diego Martin Central MP Symon De Nobrega.
No positions were announced for Point Fortin MP Kennedy Richards Jr, Port of Spain South MP Keith Scotland, Toco/Sangre Grande MP Roger Monroe and Tunapuna MP Esmond Forde.
The prime minister appointed his 16 senators who are: Hassel Bacchus, Yokymma Bethelmy, Amery Browne, Donna Cox, Nigel De Freitas, Daniel Dookie, Paula Gopee-Scoon, Kazim Hosein, Franklin Khan, Laurel Lezama, Randall Mitchell, Clarence Rambharat, Renuka Sagramsingh-Sooklal, Rohan Sinanan, Avinash Singh and Allyson West.
Rowley was questioned by a reporter on the racial tension that followed the General Election results and he heaped the blame on Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar for an advertising campaign that allegedly tried to court or suppress ‘black’ voters but ‘backfired spectacularly’.
He called it a deliberate and dangerous strategy by the United National Congress (UNC), which supposedly attempted to follow the playbook of its previous Cambridge Analytica-steered campaign.
“My government takes no responsibility for that except to point it out,” said Rowley.
The Cabinet members appointed today by Prime Minister Rowley were:
- Faris Al-Rawi (Office of Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs);
- Senator Clarence Rambharat (Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries);
- Senator Avinash Singh (Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries);
- Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly (Minister of Education);
- Lisa Morris-Julian (Minister in the Ministry of Education);
- Senator Franklin Khan (Minister of Energy and Energy Industries);
- Colm Imbert (Minister of Finance);
- Brian Manning (Minister in the Ministry of Finance);
- Terrance Deyalsingh (Minister of Health);
- Pennelope Beckles (Minister of Housing and Urban Development);
- Adrian Leonce (Minister in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development);
- Stephen McClatchie (Minister of Labour);
- Senator Kazim Hosein (Minister of Rural Development and Local Government);
- Stuart Young (Minister of National Security and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister);
- Senator Renuka Sagramsingh-Sooklal (Minister in the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs);
- Ayanna Webster-Roy (Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister—Gender and Child Affairs);
- Symon De Nobrega (Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister—Minister of Communications);
- Camille Robinson-Regis (Minister of Planning and Development);
- Senator Allyson West (Minister of Public Administration and Digital Transformation);
- Senator Hassel Bacchus (Minister in the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation);
- Marvin Gonzales (Minister of Public Utilities);
- Donna Cox (Minister of Social Development and Family Services);
- Shamfa Cudjoe (Minister of Sport and Community Development);
- Senator Randall Mitchell (Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts);
- Senator Paula Gopee Scoon (Minister of Trade and Industry);
- Senator Rohan Sinanan (Minister of Works and Transport);
- Foster Cummings (Minister in the Ministry of Works and Transport);
- Fitzgerald Hinds (Minister of Youth Development);
- Dr Amery Browne (Minister of Foreign Affairs).