Chief Secretary Orville London is advising Tobagonians to look at all the implications of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s fourth Cabinet shuffle.
London made the statement yesterday (3 February , 2015) at a media conference at the Administrative Complex in Calder Hall, Scarborough, in reaction to the Prime Minister’s announcement of the changes to Cabinet on Monday night.
The Prime Minister addressed allegations by attorney David West that Attorney General Anand Ramlogan asked West to withdraw his witness statement in a defamation lawsuit six days before West’s appointment as Director of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA).
“We had a challenge that was unparalleled in the history of Trinidad and Tobago where not only the Attorney General, but members of Cabinet are under allegations of criminal investigation,” London said. “I think that it was for the most part disingenuous. It was self-serving and contradictory. For me, it was highly revealing of the personality and priorities of the Prime Minister.”
According to London, the Prime Minister did the country a disservice. He further stated that what happens at the national level, especially months before an election, is particularly important. Only two Tobagonians, Minister Vernella Alleyne-Toppin and Minister Delmon Baker, remain in the Cabinet, he pointed out, after former Minister in the Ministry of National Security Embau Moheni’s position was revoked.
“In the final analysis what did the TOP gain from supporting the People’s Partnership?” he asked.
London said he found it disturbing that while credible organisations, including trade unions and community groups—and even the Congress of the People at some point—have shared concerns regarding the People’s Partnership, “the Tobago Organisation of the People and the Tobago Forwards have remained totally silent in the face of every atrocity inflicted on this country and the people of Tobago by this Administration.”
He added: “Going forward, this is a test. A test of the resilience of the people, but more a test of the integrity of the people and what they are prepared to accept, and what they are prepared to reject.”
London said he was concerned that things would get worse for the government, adding that the international image of the country has been tarnished in recent weeks.
“But it doesn’t have to get worse for the people of Trinidad and Tobago, and the residents of Tobago if we remain true to those values, remain true to the level of integrity to which this country has grown accustomed.” He indicated that the integrity of the country can be restored “if we remain steadfast in the belief that this is a decent country with decent people.”
“When the Prime Minister was finished, I don’t think that the country had that level of relief, that level of comfort, that level of confidence that one would have expected after a Prime Minister addresses the nation on such a sensitive and serious topic.”
London said it is clear by some of the choices the Prime Minister has made that the THA and the people of Tobago do not factor into her decisions as the island continues to be treated with disdain. He stated that he had written the Prime Minister a week ago as a gentle reminder of her commitment to meet with him last month. Persad-Bissessar, however, is yet to respond.