Newly re-appointed Minister of Public Utilities Robert Le Hunte says he is anxious to put the controversy surrounding his Ghanaian citizenship status behind him and get down to work.
Speaking to reporters after being sworn-in, for the second time, at President’s House, St Ann’s, on Thursday night, Le Hunte said there was much work to be done in the ministry.
“I always said that my whole idea of coming back and moving from the private sector to the public sector was about giving service,” he said.
“I am still very much enthused to do that I think there is a lot of work to be done in the ministry in providing water and electricity to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
“This ministry touches the people where it matters and I am anxious to put this behind me and move on to the work at hand which is serving the people of Trinidad and Tobago and trying to provide them with efficient utility services.”
Asked about the negativity which surrounded the revocation of his appointment after news surfaced he was also a Ghanaian citizen, Le Hunte said: “This is not how I would have liked my first week in office to be at all.”
Le Hunte, who apologised to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and the people of TT for the communication glitch, said based on the professional advice and information provided to him when he was first appointed, one week ago, the concept of dual citizenship was not an issue. However, Le Hunte said over the weekend, he recognised there was an issue and brought it to the attention of the Office of the Prime Minster and Rowley.
He said he took immediate steps on Monday to rectify the situation.
“Those steps included flying to Ghana, revoking my citizenship which has now been done and I am back here with all matters being cleared up with nothing preventing me from assuming this position,” Le Hunte said.
Le Hunte said when he accepted citizenship in Ghana on December 28, 2016, “ I always remained a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago. I never at any time renounced my Trinidad and Tobago citizenship.”
He said the renouncing of his Ghanaian citizenship should not affect his future prospects in the African country.
“At this point in time I am here. This is where I am and I am sure the relationship between Ghana and Trinidad will continue and I am sure I can travel back to Ghana. My wife is also a Ghanaian, so I think I have rights to be able to go back there.”
Looking ahead, Le Hunte warned that a plan of action for two major State entities - the Water and Sewerage Authority and T&T Electricity Commission, - must fit within the framework of dwindling revenue. “The revenue that we get as a country is now less and we have to find ways to make these utilities as efficient as possible,” he said. “We have to find ways of making people do more with less because we do have less as a country.”
Le Hunte said the problems in the operations of public utilities need to be tackled “head on.”