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Thursday 22 August 2019
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Analyst: Where was PM’s due diligence?

Dr Bishnu Ragoonath
Dr Bishnu Ragoonath

SERIOUS questions arise over the way the Prime Minister conducts his due diligence inquiries on his nominees to Cabinet remarked political analyst Dr Bishnu Ragoonath on the axing of former public administration minister Marlene Mc Donald and the non-selection of Garvin Simonette as her replacement yesterday.

“The PNM and Prime Minister have a responsibility to do due diligence on the selection of nominees to become ministers. However it was only after the UNC raised their concerns that his nomination was withdrawn,” Ragoonath said.

“There is concern as to whether that revelation was reason enough for the withdrawal, since the Prime Minister has said nothing about pulling him from the Senate and that the PNM has another senator convicted of a DUI offence (referring to Dr Lester Henry.)”

Ragoonath mulled aloud whether a DUI case was enough to block a ministerial appointment but not a senatorial posting.

Newsday asked about Dr Rowley’s excuse for re-appointing Mc Donald as a minister based on the Integrity Commission previously clearing her of any wrongdoing, but after which she has now been charged by the police. “The Prime Minister has to do his own due diligence on all his nominees for ministerial or senatorial appointments.”

Ragoonath said the PM must say if his form of due diligence was by relying on the Integrity Commission.

He recalled former prime minister the late Patrick Manning once saying all that was needed to become a minister was a level head and common sense.

“On that basis, I’m not sure about the Prime Minister’s due diligence on selecting Ms Mc Donald and other Cabinet ministers.

“Due diligence is not a strong point of Prime Minister Rowley. When Minister Le Hunte was initially appointed, he had to resign within a few days as he had dual citizenship with Ghana, and only after his fixed his business was sworn in again.”

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