Communications Minister Donna Cox yesterday said even though her colleague public Administration Minister Marlene McDonald has been arrested and is being held at the St Joseph Police Station while investigations continue, the PNM will not abandon her.
The Port of Spain South MP was arrested by police along with her common-law husband Michael Carew last Thursday morning as a part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of corruption. McDonald’s home in Maracas, St Joseph and her Port of Spain South Constituency Office were searched on Thursday and McDonald and Carew were questioned by police on Friday. Three contractors have also been held by police for questioning in relation to the allegations. Up to press time last night, McDonald, her husband and the contractors were preparing to be charged at the Professional Standards Bureau on Henry Street, Port of Spain.
Cox showed up at the police station just after noon yesterday.
"She is one of our colleagues and we care about her. We can't just say that we care and don't show that we care. We know the investigation is ongoing and we have to allow the police to do what they have to do, and for due process to take place. I decided to check on her to ensure she was comfortable, see how she is doing, if she needs anything. And, actually, I prayed for her also to let her know she can count on the Lord, let Him comfort her."
Asked about McDonald's health issues, Cox said she was doing fine and was in good spirits. She said they spent time reminiscing about the past, and about what clothes and other items she may need.
Cox said the PNM has a functioning welfare department where they looked after their own.
"Our women's league is functioning and vibrant. It must not seem to be that we are just fair weather friends. If you are in trouble, whether innocent or guilty, it doesn't change the fact that you are there for the person.
"Some people focus on whether an individual is guilty or innocent. That is not it really. Regardless of what, you are still a human being and we need to look out for you. It is not when you are up, we are up with you and when you are down we kick you down or just leave you. I came here today because I am that type of person on the whole. I feel regardless of who you are, you are a human being and you must be treated as such. Whether you are innocent or guilty, it still doesn't take out from the fact that you have made a contribution to this society and you are a part of the PNM. So we are here just to support her."
Cox is a former minister of state in the community development and national security ministries. She took over this portfolio from Stuart Young, who remains Minister of National Security and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister.