LAVENTILLE East/Morvant MP Adrian Leonce said the circumstances which led to the Prime Minister firing Marlene McDonald as public administration minister did not influence his new appointment as parliamentary secretary in the Public Utilities Ministry.
Leonce was sworn in by acting President Christine Kangaloo at the President's Cottage in St Ann's yesterday.
Speaking afterwards with reporters, Leonce said, "I don't think the appointment had anything to do with that. I am very happy to have received this appointment."
Leonce was happy Dr Rowley had given him this appointment and he looked forward to working with Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte. He hoped his background as an engineer would "serve as some sort of advantage in the work we are going to do."
Leonce said he was told yesterday morning about his new appointment.
"I was very happy to be called upon to do additional service. I want to do this to the best of my ability," he added.
Le Hunte opined that Leonce's appointment was because Rowley "is always looking" and knew about the kinds of projects taking place at the ministry.
"My ministry touches the heart of a number of people in TT. It's really where the rubber hits the road with regards to service," Le Hunte said.
He was happy to be working with Leonce.
"Two pairs of hands are always better than one," he added. He believed Leonce's background would be an asset. Le Hunte said Leonce will help him "to provide better service and oversight in areas like WASA, TTEC and a number of projects we are looking forward to bring to completion." All of these activities, Le Hunte continued, would help the ministry to "provide better service to the people of TT."
He also said Leonce will play an important role in other activities such as implementing community water projects, the Beverage Container Bill and energy conservation.
A statement from the Communications Ministry said Rowley advised Kangaloo to appoint Leonce parliamentary secretary, reappoint Foster Cummings as a senator, revoke Garvin Simonette's senatorial appointment and appoint senator Allyson West Public Administration Minister.
Cummings' senatorial appointment was revoked last month so that new Communications Minister Donna Cox could be appointed a government senator. He will be sworn in when Parliament resumes next month.
West, who retains her post as Minister in the Ministry of Finance, will have her new instrument of appointment sent to her.
Rowley, Le Hunte, Cummings, Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell and D'Abadie/O'Meara MP Ancil Antoine were present for Leonce's swearing-in.
On Sunday, Rowley advised the President to revoke McDonald's ministerial appointment. Last week, McDonald and her common-law husband Michael Carew were arrested as part of an ongoing police investigation into allegations of corruption. On Tuesday, Rowley fired her as a PNM deputy leader.