PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jun 12, CMC – Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar says the realignment of her two-year administration could take longer than expected as she continues discussions with Cabinet members of her five-party coalition People’s Partnership administration.
“No decisions have been completely made… I have been holding discussions as you know with the various Ministers and that process will continue throughout this week. I do not expect to complete that until after Labour Day, (June 19),” she told reporters, adding “there are several thoughts on my own mind and in the minds of others.
“I haven’t decided yet. We’ll find a way to let everyone know. Certainly, first the ministers themselves and thereafter the public.”
Addressing the second anniversary celebrations of the People’s Partnership government on May 24, Persad Bissessar said that she would not be taking any portfolio “simply because I am the chairman of the Cabinet and I must remain free to make decisions”.
But the island’s first woman head of government said that while she was satisfied with the performance of the government, “there is always room for improvement”.
There has been wide spread speculation in the media regarding the reconfiguration with some pundits hinting that Works and Infrastructure Minister Austin Jack Warner could be given the National Security portfolio in light of the escalating crime situation.
Prime Minister Persad Bissessar told reporters that she would “take all factors into consideration” when considering the realignment, adding “at the end of the day it is government performance that is important.
“…therefore, I’ll be looking to see how best we can reconfigure for greater effect and greater delivery of the goods and services in our nation,” she added.
The coalition government, which in recent months has been beset by internal wrangling, came to power on May 24, 2010 after the then prime minister Patrick Manning called a snap general election more than two years ahead of the constitutional deadline.
Meanwhile, the Movement for Justice (MSJ), which draws it membership from the labour movement, and is one of the parties in the coalition government, is likely to withdraw from the government.
President General of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget, told a news conference of the Joint Trade Union Movement that the matter of whether the party remains in the government could be decided soon.
“Patience, patience, patience. Rest assured, patience…and you shouldn’t have to wait too long again,” he said.
The issue is expected to dominate Labour Day activities here on June 19.
“We want to say categorically that this PP Government does not have the support of the labour movement,” Roget said, adding that “significant announcements” would be made at the Labour Day rally which is being held under the theme “Only Workers’ Action Would Save Our Nation.”
“We are going to make some significant announcements as to what is going to happen next as we move forward,” Roget said, adding “there is a concerted attempt to silence any dissenting voice in Trinidad and Tobago.
“Anyone who speaks out against the Government is identified as a troublemaker. We fear none and we will not bow. We will be taking very strong position against this government’s ant-democratic approach to stifle and muzzle the media and trade union voices.”