Retired head of the public service Reginald Dumas says the faux pas which led to the revocation of Robert Le Hunte’s appointment as Public Utilities Minister after he weas believed to be a citizen of Ghana is yet another example of the declining quality of governance in Trinidad and Tobago.
“We are achieving that decline in governance at our peril,” Dumas yesterday told Newsday.
“We are allowing our institutions to be damaged and if we are not careful, eventually, they will be destroyed. If that happens we will not have a country worth the name.”
The appointment of Le Hunte, who was sworn in as a senator and Minister of Public Utilities, last Thursday at President’s House, was revoked on Monday after it was brought to the attention of the Office of the Prime Minister that he was a citizen of Ghana.
However, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday revealed during a tour of of several projects in his Diego Martin West constituency that Le Hunte is a TT citizen.
The Opposition United National Congress had earlier criticised the development, describing it as sheer incompetence on the part of the PNM.
Yesterday, Dumas said he was not so interested in the Le Hunte issue as a separate matter as he is in the development as an example of the “inadequate governance we have been experiencing in recent times in the country.”
“We have had a series of what are, to me, embarrassing happenings and episodes where no one has done anything to us. We have been doing it to ourselves.”
Dumas listed the controversies surrounding former Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar, supposed photos of Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi’s children at a shooting range at Camp Cumuto, the revocation of the appointment of Marlene Mc Donald as housing minister and the ongoing inter-island seabridge fiasco as examples of declining governance.
“Today, it is Le Hunte and tomorrow it will be something else,” Dumas said.
“And, I am embarrassed as a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago that 55 years after the achievement of political independence, we should be doing this to ourselves.
“That is my concern - that we are looking foolish. That we cannot point a finger at anybody else. We have to point a finger at ourselves. Look at ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves, ‘what is going wrong?’
“Because, it is we who are doing it and damaging our institutions - the Judiciary, Defence Force, Parliament, Cabinet - all of these are major institutions in the country.”
Dumas observed that despite the perceived efforts by United States president Donald Trump to “damage and control” institutions, “they are not blinking but pushing back.
“He (Trump) cannot destroy the institutions because the institutions are too strong.”