By Richard Lord
March 11, 2016 – guardian.co.tt
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is reviewing the future of Cabinet Ministers Marlene McDonald and Camille Robinson-Regis and will act decisively at the appropriate time. So said Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi during an interview with reporters after yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair.
Housing and Urban Development Minister McDonald and Planning and Development Minister Robinson-Regis have been the subject of much criticism for their roles in two incidents. Robinson-Regis is being questioned over the deposit of more than $93,000 in a First Citizens bank account and McDonald is being probed for her role in the acquisition of an HDC apartment by a close associate.
There have been repeated calls for the ministers to resign over their alleged conduct in the respective matters.They have both denied any wrongdoing. Commenting on the McDonald issue, Al-Rawi said: “There is nothing to be acted upon (and) relative to the Camille Robinson-Regis issue. The Prime Minister has that issue under active review and the key is for the evidence and the information to be brought forward and considered which he is in the process of dealing with.”
He said Rowley had “acted and continues to act with propriety. He is known to be a man that acts in a very decisive way and there is consistency in his approach.” The AG added: “The PM has said he will deal with the issues of his Cabinet and the public statement that I am making now is that he is in the process of doing exactly that.
“The fact that someone may have made a report to the Integrity Commission is mutually exclusive from the Prime Minister’s own view of his own position as the head of the Cabinet. “He is reviewing these matters and I expect that the PM, being as decisive as he is, will pronounce on the matters and will do so at the correct time.”
According to the Attorney General: “There are certain markers that one has to pass through and one cannot just accept allegations. Facts must be proven. “The Prime Minister will act decisively,” Al-Rawi insisted, adding that the PM did not push away the issues. “He didn’t say no. He dealt with issues as they came up and he has said he is actively dealing with it,” he said.
The AG said the Government just concluded its first six-month review and retreat and “the PM has said there are matters that will come out of the review from the retreat which I expect he will speak to.” He noted the PM has “very wide powers under the Constitution to manage his Cabinet and otherwise. I will not intrude upon the prerogative of the PM… he is the PM.” According to Al Rawi: “The facts are not fully out there just yet and I expect the PM will bring those out, so I will like to think he is ahead of the curve and is managing it appropriately.”
Al Rawi also said Rowley never said he had lost confidence in First Citizens as was reported in a newspaper.
“He said no such thing,” Al-Rawi insisted yesterday. Al-Rawi also said he did not share the view of former chairman of the Integrity Commission Ken Gordon that Rowley’s alleged comment about the Integrity Commission was based on his previous experience with the body.
He said the Prime Minister was also expected to speak about another matter which has engaged his attention. That matter was not revealed.