By Andre Bagoo
September 12, 2015 –

PNMPRIME Minister Dr Keith Rowley, 65, yesterday described his Cabinet as one built on youth, as he unveiled a team of ministers in which 17 out of 23 are firsttime ministers.

“I hope you will observe a changing of the guard,” Rowley said in an address after the new ministers were sworn-in at a ceremony at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s. “There was a time when to hold high office in this country one had to be very senior in age and long in meritorious experience. You will have seen a lot of our young people cross this stage today and what that means is that we have put the affairs of State into the hands of a lot of young people in Trinidad and Tobago. Among them are a few hopefully sufficiently experienced ones who will provide them with guidance.” The PNM political leader also thanked youth for coming forward to serve in the People’s National Movement (PNM).

“I want to thank the young people – particularly the young people who have come forward and contested the election and won seats – and some who are not so young,” Rowley said. “The Mighty Sparrow says age is just a number. Yeah right. We of the Cabinet will go on with boundless faith in our destiny and see to the development of Trinidad and Tobago.” The first-time ministers in the Cabinet include: Stuart Young, 40, (Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs); Nicole Olivierre, 44, (Energy); Randall Mitchell, 36, (Public Administration); Shamfa Cudjoe, 33, (Tourism); Darryl Smith, 42, (Sport and Youth Affairs); and Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, 37, (Community Development, Culture and the Arts).

Other first-timers are: Dennis Moses (Foreign and Caricom Affairs); Clarence Rambharat (Agriculture); Maxie Cuffie (Minister of Communications); Anthony Garcia, 66, (Education); Terrence Deyalsingh, 58, (Health); Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, 61, (Labour, Small and Micro Enterprises); retired Brigadier General Ancil Antoine (Public Utilities); and Cherrie- Ann Critchlow-Cockburn, 56, (Social Development and Family Services).

At the same time, the new Cabinet has some familiar faces. In previous PNM administrations under Patrick Manning, Minister of Finance Colm Imbert served as Minister of Works; Minister of Housing and Urban Development Marlene Mc Donald served as Minister of Culture; Minister of Planning and Development Camille Robinson- Regis had served in this ministry before; Minister of Rural Development and Local Government Franklin Khan served as Minister of Works and Transport; Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee- Scoon served as a Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Minister of Works Fitzgerald Hinds as a Minister in the Ministry of National Security.

They join Attorney General Faris Al Rawi, 44, and Minister of National Security retired Major General Edmund Dillon, appointed on Wednesday. But young and old alike will have to account to the Prime Minister, Rowley made clear.
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18 thoughts on “CHANGE OF THE GUARD”

  1. OJT in government. The former PNM ministers were too damn corrupt. I hope these new ministers do well. A few appear to be arrogant already. My advice take at least six months to learn then move to change and cut the fat.

    1. Mamoo, in a post just before the elections I did make an appointment with you to challenge your prediction that the PNM WILL ONLY GET 285,000 votes. That statement was also
      repeated by TMan. While I did not counter those statements with a prediction my own, I was curious to know where they got their information from and why they believe that that number is static for the PNM in election campaigns. The point I am trying to make is that preconceived perceptions should not occupy our imagination if we are to be magnanimous in our approach to growth and progress. I was heartened to observe that the PNM did garner 378,000 votes and it means that we are growing in terms our acceptance of national identity. We will always have those among us who will always want to stereotype groupings in our society. We have to continue to guard against such thinking and reject the stereotyping of people based upon narrow thinking.

  2. Impressed with the wisdom to include the young turks; may they stay away from the lure of corruption and have a long and fruitful career serving the people of T&T.

  3. The new education minister intends to take us backwards.
    It appears that the new Education Minister Anthony Garcia, has his priorities upside down.

    In his very first statement after being sworn in Mr Garcia said that religious education should be taught in schools, saying that this “is important, that is vital”, while he asserted that sex education is “the responsibility of the parent”.

    In any sensible country, the opposite holds, with religious beliefs being a private matter that the State does not get involved in, whereas information about sex is taught to young people in schools.

    Another inference from Mr Garcia’s statement is that the children of non-believing parents and parents who consider themselves spiritual but non-religious will not have equal status with other pupils, since they will either be sidelined or indoctrinated in respect to moral teachings.

    If the Minister does intend to make religion part and parcel of the school curriculum, then his oath taken as a minister to treat with all persons equally requires that non-believers also be provided with the opportunity to teach non-religious children in schools about morality without God, also called “ethical teaching”.
    The above statement by the Humanist society is relevant and on point. The PNM campaign emphasized and criticized the interjection of Hindu religious philosophy and practice as being detrimental to the “culture” of T&T.The PNM accused the government of promoting Hinduism.
    Is the minister planning to teach all religions, including the principles of atheism?
    Is the new government planning to promote Christianity only?

    1. It is very obvious in your post that you are in fact inferring and Not quoting the Minister of Education.
      There is noting in print or policy to support your predictable notion of hypocrisy. This nation was educated on the concept of Christianity. Christians and Muslims share the same concept of the creator. Hindu
      Concepts of creation is one which differentiates human birth rights. The Hindu ascribes superiority to its Brahmin human gods and downgrades human values based on prescribed notions of inferiority. That is stated in its holy books like the Gita. In Trinidad we equate all religions as “equal” but there is nothing equal about that kind of religiosity.

      1. Kian, I know all about the equality of religions. I attended the best Roman Catholic college in the country and also attended one of the best Catholic universities in North America. You are ascribing too much credit to the conspiratorial and organizational power of Hindus in T&T. Most Hindus in T&T have a very limited knowledge of the tenets of Hinduism itself, and conform to a superficial display of religion, language and dress.

    2. Well direction is relative to the compass of the driver…i assume when tim gopeesingh led the investigation into the tunapuna hindu school…we were going forwards then…not so? But now with an african in charge it’s backwards…we’ll use our compass and you use yours? But nooo we must use your compass also…stop counting sheep so late at night it seems you have problems waking up from your dreams…

  4. “under Kamla a small group of Hindu extremists, taking its inspiration from the Bharatiya Janata Party in India, captured the party. Hindutva seems to be its rallying cry”.(CUDOE)

    Cudjoe expressed the above lie in his latest article, predicting the victory of the PNM. This idea of Hindu extremists taking over the country was widely circulated by the PNM on social media, personal emails and on some public platforms. It even took hold in PNM intellectual circles and was repeated numerous times on this Blog by many participants.It was tested and it worked in Tobago, as far back as the House of Assembly elections… the Calcutta ship. It worked in PNM strongholds and in the marginals.It was the biggest PNM lie, intentionally planted around the country to scare Black voters and Christians.

  5. Paolo Kerhanan says it best:

    Heart of darkness
    Paolo Kernahan – T & T Guardian – Saturday, September 12, 2015
    All Indian is scyaaamp and drunkards, black people lazy or dem is bandit, see-reean is bandit in suit, de Whiteman is ah oppressor from colonial days (and should jess hush he mout), chinee only like money and dog.
    If we are honest with ourselves, the racial stereotypes listed above are very familiar to us, or have even crossed our own lips at some time or another.
    Elections 2015 opened a fissure, exposing the dark heart of racism, prejudice and negativity that pumps hatred through the veins of this nation.
    That people were surprised by all the nastiness, points to either a well-nurtured naiveté or garden variety stupidity.
    We are masters of pretence, masking our foibles with the pantomime of mirth, conviviality and plastic unity.
    I recall my time in the media when every state function was opened with performances by the Shiv Shakti Dancers and the Malick Folk Performers. Representatives of the two major races revelled in cultural expression together on the same stage!
    Then, attendees would have to sit down, then stand up, then sit down again as Pundit, Imam, Bahai, Pastor, “Seven-days” delivered interminable blessings.
    This flimsy charade neatly encapsulates our attitude towards race relations. We bury our heads (not in the sand though) and pretend that we are a melting pot nation, a diverse mix of races and cultures all living in harmony. This…is…garbage.
    Facebook, in the aftermath of the elections, became an environment of unfathomable toxicity.
    Even as Dr Keith Rowley delivered a particularly-gracious victory speech, designed to assuage the hostilities of the elections, to wake people to the reality that we must all live and work together, the mob on the ground had different ideas.
    Political zealots surged at the fences, hurling putrid abuse at the former Prime Minister, cavalierly condemning this woman as a creature of loose morals, a hyper-charged libido and an agent of iniquity.
    For their part, the UNC supporters, wounded in defeat, mounted their own racist offensive. The party’s page was transformed into an unofficial, smouldering hate group.
    The comments laid bare a society unbound by conventions of civility and grace.
    One common incendiary notion is that “Africans” are intellectually inferior and, as such, are ill-suited to a leadership role in the society.
    This warped ideology in turn had the effect of attracting PNM supporters to the page. Spoiling for a fight, they deposited their own racist posts. What was remarkable is that the anti-racists are blind to their own racism.
    One post read “all of those nasty comments on the UNC’s Facebook page, the only cure for that is Lanate.”
    That person couldn’t appreciate that he was guilty of the same offence the post was meant to repudiate.
    Elsewhere, a video surfaced of some men attempting to burn, an apparently fire-proof UNC jersey. The video was peppered with guttural obscenities and racist remarks.
    Others, who felt themselves above the fray, also contributed to the noxious atmosphere. It was widely suggested, by many people from whom I expected better, that those who didn’t vote for the PNM, are on the side of immorality. Invoking the name of Jesus (in Jesus name!) as the weak-minded are often wont to do, PNM supporters posit that Dr Keith Rowley’s victory at the polls was somehow ordained by God; he was sent from up above to rid this country of the wicked UNC/Hindu government…In Jesus name, H.I.M.
    Thus, you have introduced into the equation the ethos of good versus evil.
    No platform for unity can be built on nakedly inferred religious intolerance.
    But calls for “unity” among citizens are an illusion.
    What we truly want is acquiescence. In 2010 and now, hush yuh mout’ we time now!
    Additionally, it was laughable to read puerile quips about East Indians with respect to alcohol. We are in fact a nation of drinkers so that is just the pot calling the kettle Indian.
    Quibbling over who drinks more than whom is practised obfuscation.
    We blame our politicians for fomenting racial and other varieties of hatred but politicians merely exploit the hate resident in the hearts of our people.
    Facebook was a snapshot of a pervasive scourge in society. Anyone who believes that the post-elections vitriol was restricted to social media, is either a fool, a liar or both.
    Hatred in the heart is difficult, if not impossible to expunge. Older generations are lost to this pernicious affliction.
    We must inoculate our children against the heredity of racial hatred and mistrust.
    There ought to be an aggressive and sustained education campaign to teach our children about appreciation for cultural differences.
    Modules must be introduced in our schools to programme future generations with an understanding of cultural diversity in T&T.
    They must be given the mental software to counteract the hatred encoded in our national DNA.
    Many will deny it, but both sides of the political divide were guilty of great atrocities.
    Trinis love to say: “One love, we all have to live here.”
    Of course, we all have to live together but, as this week aptly demonstrated, we don’t have to like it.

    1. Mr Tman you do not speak to the mixed race person. We know the SINS of the nation for we get to feel them every step of the way since 1956. I was 6 years old then and constantly heard my dad say why is he referring to the recalcitrant minority (his father was Muslim and his mother was born Hindu and sold off by her dirt poor parents). And over the many years almost 60 of those painful years now I got to realize that this indo minority (now over 20%)had a lot of cocoa in the sun. They built massive hardware stores, groceries, drugs stores, other goods stores etc. They made billions off the backs of the poor afro people and the mixed like me and fed us in return poor discarded products by the foreign world. In these times the french creoles created voids for them to fill as they took on the much bigger manufacturing business from the English masters and made trillions as they held hands with foreign investors who came here to drain our natural resources with virtually nothing in it for us. Hence the afro communities in the nation fell into a huge hole as Williams and others grappled with inflation both ah you created ONLY to fill your pockets immensely. In the main, we the mixed who were not represented in handouts by the political bosses suffered hugely. We were once the striving middle class now cast into poverty. We had to make do on sheer little. We turned to education and we succeeded at that along with our children but we never got anywhere as false papers won the battle and now the poor management structures created what we have today. We never had the “pull string” to get jobs we deserved. Our parents realizing what was happening decided to look for another country to raise most of us. I came back to my country after graduating at a top university in North America and faced endless racism from all the three groups. I remember the Fedchem years where if you are not white or afro or indo trini you did not stand a chance in hell to grow and live comfortably in T&T, the land of your birth. I recall with my efforts saving all three plants from massive disasters but got no recognition or rewards. I even witnessed massive fraudulent purchases and was targeted for death and forced out when that failed. Your government and the Ministry of Justice has my files and did nothing. We were left by the wayside for over 60 years. So you continue to talk all the crap you want as you will be talking to self. T&T was deliberately fashioned as is by the former colonial masters (divide and rule)and your people sucked up real good. The CommonWealth means nothing to me as the Queen cares NOT for my livelihood. But you know what you felt one day as lawyers (thiefing big time) or doctors ( cutting up people and killing and getting away with it big time) or businessmen like Kirpalini and others (raking in millions yearly on cheap goods and services) you feel that God will one day fall asleep. But my friend, God comes in everything the eyes meet up with. And he does not fail like us. Your SINS always come back to haunt you. So you wake up and smell the coffee.

  6. “under Kamla a small group of Hindu extremists, taking its inspiration from the Bharatiya Janata Party in India, captured the party. Hindutva seems to be its rallying cry”.(CUDOE)

    Cudjoe expressed the above lie in his latest article, predicting the victory of the PNM. This idea of Hindu extremists taking over the country was widely circulated by the PNM on social media, personal emails and on some public platforms. It even took hold in PNM intellectual circles and was repeated numerous times on this Blog by many participants.It was tested and it worked in Tobago, as far back as the House of Assembly elections… the Calcutta ship. It worked in PNM strongholds and in the marginals.It was the biggest PNM lie, intentionally planted around the country to scare Black voters and Christians

    Lie my foot. The same thing that occurred in Guyana with the PPP victory in 1992, occurred in T&T with the PP victory. An assembly of ideologued supremacist led by Kamla invoked a veritable Hindutava like social construction in T&T. And it was fueled by sycophants like you and Mamoo, who employed every stereotype imaginable to classify and categorize black people and the PNM.

    You always believe that somehow people will not observe and take note of what you do, what you preach. TMAN you were one of the most vociferous of the Hindutava like punditry. You can scream lie all you wish, that will not alter or change what is fact.

  7. Tainted lenses tend to be the mark of hypocrisy uttered in some of these blogs. The question is how much of a nation have we grown? Yesteryear it was the marabuntas on bus trips meeting a waterloo of melons in Debe, today it is the statement of the Calcutta ship coming. Connection is made about Guyana without reference of what happened in Wismar, Guyana. On top of the totem pole is the manifestation of the remnants of colonialists laughing ceaselessly at our succumbing to divide and rule without even realizing such is happening. The creed of today becomes the deed of tomorrow. Have we really mentally grown from 1956 yonder? Is change sometimes misconstrued as growth at times, really shifting sand Lionel Seukeran DLP and his grand son Faris Al Rawi PNM, not forgetting what was placed in Lionel’s gold colour American car when he was making a speech in Debe? Hmmmn! Caroni lands the base of Lionel’s wealth, who was the government at the time?

    1. Loyal ****** “Tainted lenses tend to be the mark of hypocrisy uttered in some of these blog”. I will tell you whats tainted …*****. You and yours lived freely at our expense. All over the world your kind know who how to live on other people’s backs. Who are your mentors? i keep saying lets look at our history in T&T. Way back to the 1600s none of your people ever made history in T&T as growing our history or putting us on the world map or helping the society grow in any way or even as exemplars. Just like Kirpalani or Maraj you put your people with false papers in charge with massive salaries and perks, so yes you talk about Lionel. You are the bloodly hypocrite. We have a lot in T&T, hypocrite, to gain from our catholic french creole heritage. Can we say the same from the hindu heritage especially in education and culture. You are simply carrying on from the facebook blogs to incense your fellow peoples to come out and bring down the government. Try ducking and running nah. I said before no true leader will ever kiss a foot before using her brain to remind herself who she represents.

  8. You know I keep thinking about what is keeping our beloved nation from going forward is that we never came to terms with our past. Some among us are ensuring that we remain this way to keep their status co so that we remain a suffering nation. They want us training our guns ON OTHERS NOT THEM. Somehow we seem prevented from talking about our past as our colonial masters never allowed us, whether in our schools or in our public rantings, to document our past as truly as it was. WE LEARN FROM OUR PAST ESPECIALLY FROM OUR MIS-STEPS. We were divided and ruled over for centuries. Whereas in the country of that “master” history meant everything. They continued to rule over “theirs” with the sustained history of a white kingdom which some say is stained with the black world but then they are THE real hypocrites of world history as their people are denied serious growth and as Muslim peoples fill their world. This is the master that created and made the Libyan leader the world richest man. You can connect the dots as to how they gained from that. Gaddaffi was suppose to control Africa for their gains. THE SAME THEY DID WITH A FEW FRENCH SLAVE MASTERS. So our history was never of any importance to them. We know the importance of our french catholic socialist history particularly in our culture be it Carnival, language, history etc, but most of it was never documented. In USA and Canada they did the same but their history is documented not ours. Why is it that we are just as socialist as the french or more so Haiti or Guadeloupe or Martinique yet we are not close to ANY of these countries. IS DIVIDE AND RULE THERE AGAIN? Is it divide and rule policy that allows them to further exploit us. ARE WE THAT DOTISH? we are now Independent nearly 60 years and we cannot see to document our history and teach our children in our schools about our own history. WE NEED TO MOVE ON. WE NEED CLOSURE TO RACISM. I remember studying Canadian geography in secondary school in T&T; instead of the geography of say the WEST INDIES. Why can we NOT document for our schools history lessons from 1600 to now. Why can we not learn about all the history of our Carnival, steelband, calpyso, and mass costumes of the past, in our schools to grow and market our culture. WHY ARE ONLY CERTAIN PEOPLE ALLOWED TO PROFIT FROM OUR CARNIVAL? NOW IN TRINIDAD CARNIVAL IS FOR THE FILTHY RICH ONLY INCLUDING THE FOREIGNER AND THIS IS BRINGING SERIOUS UNDOCUMENTED PROBLEMS FOR OUR PEOPLE. Every other country ensures this does not happen. We can open ” roads ” to expose all our tourist areas in T&T and help grow our economy. NOT OPEN ROADS IN T&T SO THAT ONLY A FEW CAN BENEFIT AND GET VOTES. AND PLEASE NOTE THAT some of our people still hold on to our key lands do so for endless profit to come. LIKE THE UNKEPT ROADS TO SEE WONDERS LIKE THE TURTLES. AND We pay lawyers millions to fight cases that mean nothing to 99.9999% of the entire population. Why because our colonial masters did the same in the years gone by and we still are afraid of them and the enslaved marks they left on us. I SAY TO HELL WITH THEM. I SAY LET US INVITE THE FRENCH TO DOCUMENT OUR HISTORY SO OUR CHILDREN CAN OVERCOME THE CONTINUED DEPRESSION AND PAINS THAT EXIT IN OUR CULTURE FROM SLAVERY AND RACISM THAT THE SOME HINDUS AND OTHERS WANT REMAINED, SO THAT THEY CAN CARRY ON WITH THEIR PREJUDICES JUST LIKE OUR COLONIAL MASTERS DID AND ARE KEEPING IT SO TO STEAL OUR NATURAL RESOURCES.

  9. FACT the singer that moonilal brought from india to endorse the then hindu government is in fact a card carrying member of the Bhaeatiya Janata Party (BJP)

    1. Alyssa parachuted onto this site venomously ascribing everything evil to Hindus and Hinduism. Let me state at the outset that I am not a Hindu, but when bigotry rears its ugly head it should be challenged. This Alyssa person has posted a multitude of blogs presenting a distorted narrative skewed to emphasize her central thesis that all Hindus are racist. She came really close to suggesting that racism is an inborn characteristic in all Indians by suggesting that it was in their DNA. She made prolific use of anecdotes, subjective data and biographical information of the worse, derogatory types to support her point of view. She entertained, informed and delighted many who willingly bought into her distorted dogma. She crudely portrayed India and by utilizing carefully selected images, examples and events painted a totally negative and despicable picture of India and Indians. She is entitled to her opinion and her freedom of expression. However, there are recognized scholars who present a totally opposite view of Hinduism. It is not my intention to endorse any literature on Hinduism or to refute completely Alyssa’s viewpoint. I am reminded of the words of a certain candidate in the Republican primaries of the US who boldly stated that no Muslim should become president of the United States.

      The other view of Hinduism:
      Hinduism, or Sanatana Dharma, is a rich and dynamic collection of hundreds of spiritual and philosophical traditions that are based on certain essential, core tenets. Its transcendent insights into the existential questions of humanity — the meaning of life, why we are here, fate versus free will — have led to a profound and global embrace of such Hindu concepts as religious pluralism, yoga, meditation, ayurvedic healing, reincarnation, karma, environmentalism, the celebration of the divine feminine, and vegetarianism. Yet, even as Hindu precepts are ascendant in contemporary discourse, Indian citizens, Hindus in the diaspora, and many Western seekers eager to immerse themselves in the Hindu way of life, see a glaring dichotomy in the vast gap between the religious teaching of divinity inherent in each being and the continued social reality of discrimination and inequality in parts of Indian society predicated on the “caste” of one’s birth – a striking contrast between Aham Brahmasmi (“I am that Divine”) and untouchability

      1. Caste-based discrimination and a birth-based caste hierarchy are not intrinsic to the Hindu religion.
      2. Caste-based discrimination does exist in many parts of India today.
      3. Caste-based discrimination fundamentally contradicts the essential teaching of Hindu sacred texts that divinity is inherent in all beings.
      4. Contemporary Hindu spiritual leaders are actively promoting authentic interpretations of Hindu sacred texts, affirming that the solution to caste-based discrimination lies in an adherence to core Hindu teachings.
      5. Representative democracy, government policies, and urbanization/economic liberalization have wrought a sea change in caste equations in modern India, but the matter is complicated by the emergence of caste-based politics.
      6. Caste-based discrimination is being exploited by multi-national evangelical and missionary organizations whose ostensibly humanitarian and development goals are too often intertwined with predatory proselytization and conversion. Also, caste-based discrimination is an issue that the sovereign state of India and its people have addressed and continue to do so, thus interference by any external agency in India’s internal affairs is unacceptable and unwarranted.

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