By Stephen Kangal
April 18, 2018
In spite of the surprising level of sensitivity and thin skin displayed by Her Excellency The President Ms Paula Mae-Weekes to public concerns expressed on the Darryl Smith appointment I submit that she should not have acceded immediately to the advice of the Prime Minister and proceeded unwittingly to appoint ailing Maxie Cuffy in a new post as a Minister.
Minister Cuffy took the original Ministerial oath “…to the best of my ability to discharge my duties as Minister…”
Because he is unfortunately out of the jurisdiction of Trinidad and Tobago recovering from a stroke in a US hospital at present he cannot discharge his duties as Minister. He cannot even do so to the best of his ability because he is physically and mentally incapacitated with a medical incident. The Constitution recognizes these considerations as evidence when a Minister “is incapable of performing his functions” in Section 79 (2).
This was a test of independence, judgement and exercise of Presidential Constitutional authority that Her Excellency has failed very early in her Presidency. Her Excellency should have delayed her appointment as former President ANR Robinson did because the Constitution uses the discretionary/optional “may” instead of the imperative/mandatory “shall” in this regard.
Her Excellency has in fact appointed someone to high office who knowingly by The President cannot fulfill the duties of the Office to which he was appointed and sets a terrible example of misjudgement.
She should have requested a medical report on Mr Cuffy’s current condition from the PM to determine whether Mr Cuffy can faithfully fulfill the obligations of the Oath of Office that he took in 2015.
As for Prime Minister Rowley he should not have placed Her Excellency in such an untenable position in advising her to make this appointment
so early in her tenure when Mr Cuffy is physically, mentally and geographically unable to perform the duties of a Minister.
3 thoughts on “President Erred In Appointing Cuffie a Minister”
It is with great dismay that the honorable Prime Minister continues to engage in his political folly whilst denying the good people of La Horketta/Talparo proper representation.
The PM is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. If he do the right thing and called a bye election he will be denying Maxie $40,000 per month plus millions and millions in health care cost that could go well past the next election. The Americans are not stupid, they know their hospital have a virtual cash cow that is producing monetary milk ever hour, so they will sedate, medicate and keep him a vegetable fulfilling the capitalist dream. The right thing for the PM to do is to send two PNM doctors to inquire as to the medicine and treatment that the honorable minister is receiving. That way they can gauge the nature and scope of treatment. And determine if tax payers are getting their money’s worth. As of now like the Galleon Passage nobody knows where Maxie is being detained. It is a state secret.
The President not wanting to embarrassed her party went along with the joke of the year. Appointing a minister in absentia to a portfolio that he cannot administer as Steven so clearly elucidated on. This to my knowlege has never happened before in the history of TNT. She is a brilliant lady and so far I like her press releases, she is using her goodly office as a stabilizing factor. Of great note the PNM just realeased $108 million to fix the President house, one might say with so much money being spent the President was effectively silenced on the issue. Imagine if you are building a highway at $1 million per 1/2 mile dual lane you could easily get 54 miles of highway for that money. Or if a house cost a $1 million to build you could get 108 houses for that money. One must note anything the PNM builds, goes into millions in cost over run. So $108 million is just a start.
The long and short of it is this, the ruling party can do whatever they want and not a dog bark. If the situation was reversed and it was the UNC, Roget would have organized a three day March with the OWTU, aunty Verna would have been spitting water all over the place rolling her Pram, Kublalsingh would have gone on a 21 day fast, the media would have gone wild…
In the front page of the Express Her Excellency The President Paul-Mae Weekes advised all T&T to think before speaking as if that is a culture in T&T. But did she think before appointing a physically, mentally and a man outside of the jurisdiction of T&T as a Minister? I say No! Do as I say but not as I do.
‘…I implore citizens, especially those in a position to influence others, to inform themselves fully on the law and the facts before making public utterances.”
Could Her Excellency please tell this to AG Faris al Rawi!
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