In fact, just after two years in office, Persad-Bissessar has found grounds to strip six other ministers of their portfolios.
On May 10, 2011, the appointment of Government Senator and Minister of Planning, Restructuring and Gender Affairs, Mary King, was revoked by President George Maxwell Richards.
King’s dismissal came after Persad-Bissessar found evidence that implicated King in the inappropriate awarding of a $100,000 contract to a company, Ixanos, in which King’s family has an interest.
Persad-Bissessar was quoted as saying, “new evidence came to light following an investigation conducted into the matter by the Attorney General Anand Ramlogan”.
She explained that her decision to remove King as both a senator and government minister was based on that new evidence.
In June 2011, Persad-Bissessar reshuffled her Cabinet removing three ministers—Therese Baptiste-Cornelis as Minister of Health, Rudrawatee Nan Gosine-Ramgoolam as Minister at the Ministry of Public Administration and Subhas Panday as Minister in the Ministry of National Security.
Both Baptiste-Cornelis and Gosine-Ramgoolam were former lecturers at the Lok Jack Graduate School of Business before entering the Cabinet in May 2010.
Following their removal as ministers, Baptiste-Cornelis and Gosine-Ramgoolam accepted Persad-Bissessar’s offer to become this country’s consuls-general in Geneva, Switzerland and New York in the United States respectively.
However, Baptiste-Cornelis was recently fired from that post after a much-criticised lecture she delivered in Geneva on the topic of cultural diversity.
Panday was replaced as the People’s Partnership Senate team leader by Senator Emmanuel George. He was also replaced as Minister in the Ministry of National Security by Partap, a person whom he mentored in law.
No reason was given for their removal from Cabinet, but following the 2011 reshuffle, Persad-Bissessar noted that “very few of my Ministers had the benefit of serving in Government and in Cabinet or had done so a long time ago”.
In the June 22 reshuffle, the Prime Minister again fired two ministers, namely, John Sandy who held the post of National Security Minster and Verna St Rose-Greaves who held the Gender portfolio.
Sandy was replaced by Jack Warner as National Security Minister while St Rose Greaves was replaced by former San Fernando mayor Marlene Coudray.
Commenting on her dismissal, St Rose-Greaves said she was glad to have had the opportunity to serve since she “got work done. There is no quarrel with my work…. I did my part and I am happy I have done it. And I would continue the work (outside of Government)”.
Adding to the list is Partap, who was dismissed as Minister in the Ministry of National Security after he refused to take a breathalyser test.
According to the reports, Partap was returning from the Zen night club on Sunday morning when he was stopped by police.
He eventually took the test when acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams got to the station following a call from Partap . He passed the test and was subsequently allowed to leave the Belmont Station.
But by then, the damage had been done.
Making the announcement of his firing on Sunday night, Persad-Bissessar said: “This decision was made subsequent to reports received from the Ministry of National Security and Mr Collin Partap.”
His removal as a minister has rendered Partap a backbencher—the first and so far only one on the Government’s bench in the Parliament.