Rowley: Background checks necessary

Prime Min­is­ter Row­ley has said it may be time to make a for­mal back­ground check by the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice’s Spe­cial Branch unit a manda­to­ry part of the vet­ting process for prospec­tive of­fice­hold­ers.

“It has not been part of our sys­tem and it may very well be that the time has come for us to look at that,” Row­ley said yes­ter­day.

PM: I acted on information I had at the time

Prime Min­is­ter Kei­th Row­ley says he first heard that Mar­lene Mc­Don­ald was in po­lice cus­tody via Face­book or What­sApp last Thurs­day and was on­ly told of­fi­cial­ly that she was be­ing charged around 10.30 pm last Sun­day.

"As Prime Min­is­ter and Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty chair­man, where a Min­is­ter is in cus­tody, the sys­tems in T&T are so se­cure that no­body in of­fi­cial­dom com­mu­ni­cat­ed to me there was sub­stance to what was go­ing on be­fore or dur­ing, or that a Min­is­ter was in cus­tody for a rea­son," he added yes­ter­day.

PM: Media trying to pin Marlene's 'misdeeds' on me

Even as he fumed at the me­dia for “try­ing to pin” Mar­lene Mc­Don­ald’s cor­rup­tion scan­dal on him, Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley on Thursday ad­mit­ted that he ex­er­cised flawed judg­ment by re­in­stat­ing her as a Cab­i­net min­is­ter de­spite the trail of al­le­ga­tions that dogged her.

Row­ley faced the me­dia yes­ter­day for the first time since Mc­Don­ald was ar­rest­ed at her Mara­cas, St Joseph home last Thurs­day. She has been charged with sev­en of­fences of cor­rup­tion, fraud and mis­be­hav­iour in pub­lic of­fice and is now home on $2 mil­lion bail.

PM on McDonald: No crisis - Ship of State flows smoothly along

"As far as the Government is concerned, there is no crisis in Trinidad and Tobago."

Those were the words of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley as he began addressing Thursday's post-Cabinet news conference on the matter of dismissed minister Marlene McDonald.

"A crisis means different things for different people. For us the ship of state flows smoothly along," he said.

But the prime minister has admitted that he made an error in judgement by having returned Marlene McDonald to the Cabinet, despite the allegations she had been facing when he did.

Tewarie: Retrenchment at CDA a red herring

For­mer Peo­ple's Part­ner­ship min­is­ter Dr Bhoe Tewarie says the $88 Mil­lion debt be­ing tout­ed as the rea­son for staff cuts at the Ch­aguara­mas De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­i­ty (CDA) is noth­ing more than a red her­ring.

Speak­ing on CNC3's The Morn­ing Brew with host Hema Ramkissoon, Tewarie said if the PNM ad­min­is­tra­tion had fol­lowed through with plans put in place un­der his tenure for the de­vel­op­ment of the Ch­aguara­mas penin­su­la from 2012 to 2015, the CDA would be in a much bet­ter po­si­tion.

CDA to send home 68 workers

Six­ty-eight em­ploy­ees of the Ch­aguara­mas De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­i­ty (CDA) will be sent home in the com­ing weeks as the au­thor­i­ty seeks to re­duce its ex­pen­di­ture and tack­le its $88 mil­lion debt.

In a re­lease yes­ter­day, the au­thor­i­ty said the salaries of its cur­rent staff of 200 ac­counts for 72 per cent of its in­come—twice what it was in 2010.

Rambachan bowing out of politics

Moments before Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced the opening of nominations for general elections, Tabaquite MP Dr Suruj Rambachan announced that he will not be seeking political office again.

Speaking at the Gasparillo Secondary School during the UNC's meeting on Tuesday night, Rambachan said he wanted to serve as a mentor to the youths of his party rather than serve in office as an elected MP.

Rambachan had served for 50 years with the UNC and was a former Minister of Works under Persad-Bissessar's regime.

PM fires Marlene as deputy PNM political leader

Prime Minister and Political Leader of the People's National Movement (PNM) Dr Keith Rowley has revoked the appointment of Marlene McDonald as the deputy political leader of the PNM.

Dr Rowley made the announcement via his Facebook page.

"As The Political Leader of the People's National Movement, I have today revoked the appointment of Ms Marlene McDonald as Deputy Political Leader of the PNM," the statement said.