OPPOSITION Senator Khadijah Ameen yesterday called on the Government to provide proof of the medical condition of Minister of Public Administration Maxie Cuffie, to support a statement purportedly from him read out at a recent People’s National Movement rally in his constituency of La Horquetta/Talparo by Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis.
Ameen told Newsday, “In this age of technology they could have done a little Facebook ‘live’ for 30 seconds or a little video clip to prove he is well and recovering.”
She said as it stands there is no proof that Cuffie himself drafted the statement read by Robinson-Regis.
“No one has seen a photo or a video or interacted with him to prove his capacity.”
Ameen said she herself has relatives who have suffered a second stroke, as is alleged to have affected Cuffie, and so she can personally attest how hard this is to recover from.
“A second stroke is debilitating. You can’t move and function. It takes a lot of recovery.”
Asked if the recent appointment of Port of Spain South MP Marlene Mc Donald as a minister in Cuffie’s ministry was a hint he may be expected to be out of action for a while, Ameen said Mc Donald was being appointed to do Cuffie’s work, but while he retained the minister’s title and benefits of office.
She wondered how long Cuffie should be paid if unable to do the job of minister or MP, and suggested an alternative arrangement to financially help him in his illness. Otherwise, Ameen wondered if the Director of Public Prosecutions decides to charge Mc Donald over questions about the Calabar Foundation run by her common-law husband, would Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley fire her again? Meanwhile Newsday understands that Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan is caretaker of Cuffie’s constituency during Cuffie’s absence.
Rowley recently told the House of Representatives that the Government has paid $2.49 million towards Cuffie’s medical costs, including $980,000 to the St Clair Medical Centre, some US$46,000 ($312,000) for an air ambulance and US$171,000 ($1.162 million) for a stroke recovery programme in the United States. On September 5, 2017 Cuffie suffered what the Office of the Prime Minister dubbed “a medical episode,” thought to be a stroke, having reputedly had his first stroke in September 2012.