Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has called on the population to return to the spirit of volunteerism. In his address to the audience following the swearing-in of the Ministers of his Cabinet, Dr Rowley said there was a time when citizens did work or volunteered without expectation of remuneration.
“If you help an old lady cross the street, there’s a reward in how you feel helping her cross the street. Let’s get rid of the ‘gimme gimme attitude’. Let us be confident that what is done in the dark can be defended in the light,” he said, adding “the gimme gimme days are over.”
The country’s 7th Prime Minister said there was going to be challenging times ahead, but the party would share the resources available equitably. Later on, in addressing the media, Prime Minister Rowley said the 23 members of his cabinet were not chosen as a number-comparison to the cabinet of the previous administration, but that the numbers chosen were what the party felt was sufficient to manage the country’s affairs.
“We’ve absorbed a number of other ministries into existing ones,” the Prime Minister said. “The Ministry of Justice and Legal affairs are facets of the Office of the Attorney General, so you will find they’re absorbed.” It was the announcement of Colm Imbert as Finance Minister that drew expressions of surprise from the audience and asked whether or not the Diego Martin North/East MP was qualified to be Finance minister given his previous portfolio of Works and Transport, Dr Rowley said “He is the most experienced minister, very technically sound, he is best suited for that position. It is those who called themselves economists in the political arena that got us where we are now.”
When asked about ongoing Commissions Of Enquiry, the Prime Minister said that it will be unusual for him to interfere with it. As for the petition by the United National Congress to declare the September 7th General Election null and void, he said “those are the internal politics of the UNC.”
Parliament is to be reopened just before Republic Day, Dr Rowley said, and when asked about the kind of resistance the Government can expect from the opposition Dr Rowley said the PNM is not going to the Parliament to fight the opposition.
“If they indicate they are not reasonable, we will attempt to persuade them and we will be guided by our oath of office,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the Cabinet will meet at an informal retreat over the weekend and will meet in full on Monday.