Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley is to assume the Public Administration portfolio from his sacked minister, Marlene McDonald following the postponement of the swearing in of a new minister.
A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said “the announced swearing in of Senator Garvin Simonette to this position has been cancelled in light of new information”. It gave no details of the “new information”.
Simonette, who was due to have been sworn in at 2.00 pm (local time) to be a member of the Cabinet after McDonald was due to appear in court with four others on several offences of conspiracy to defraud the government.
A police statement said that apart from McDonald, the others facing the charges are her husband, Michael Carew, Victor McEachrane, Wayne Anthony and Edgar Zephrine.
“They are all being charged with several offences to defraud the Government, and offences of money laundering. However, McDonald will face offences of misbehaviour in public office,” the police statement said.
McDonald and her husband were detained by police last Thursday and the police statement noted that the others were arrested over the weekend.
This is the third time since the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) came to power in 2015 that McDonald, a deputy leader of the party, has been sacked from the Cabinet. “
“The President has been asked to revoke the appointment of Ms Marlene McDonald as Minister of Public Administration. The Prime Minister retains the Public Administration portfolio temporarily until a new appointment is made shortly.”