THE Opposition UNC on Monday was shocked and angry over the Prime Minister's decision to re-shuffle the Cabinet to shift Stuart Young from the National Security Ministry to the Energy Ministry, after Energy Minister Franklin Khan's death on Saturday.
The reshuffle saw Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds replacing Young as National Security Minister while La Horquetta/Talparo MP Foster Cummings assumed Hinds' former portfolio as Youth Development and National Service Minister.
Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal declared, "The Prime Minister's health has clearly further impaired his judgement."
Moonilal said debate on the no-confidence motion which the UNC filed against Khan in the House of Representatives on February 26 will continue because Young "will be equally incompetent as his unfortunate predecessor."
Moonilal said Hinds was "a well-known and proven failure in about eight ministries."
He said Dr Rowley should have asked Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith to return as national security minister. Griffith was national security minister in the former UNC-led People's Partnership coalition government until he and then attorney general Anand Ramlogan were fired from their posts in February 2015 by then prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for their roles in a witness-tampering investigation.
On Cummings' reassignment, Moonilal quipped, "I hope he will now return to the PNM chat."
He said Rowley was just "moving scrap iron from one side of a yard to another" because he has a dearth of talent to choose from. He claimed Hinds' appointment was temporary.
"Like a nightwatchman. In those circumstances, he may last for a few weeks."
UNC vice-chairman Khadijah Ameen scoffed, "Reshuffle a pack of jokers. Dr Rowley as Prime Minister cannot reshuffle incompetence and expect competence."
She accused Young of politicising crime as national security minister. Ameen claimed he would do the same in energy and hurt the economy. Ameen expected no achievements to come from Hinds or Cummings in their new portfolios.
UNC chairman Dave Tancoo said Young's appointment was no surprise because "it is an open secret that Young was defacto minister of energy."
He claimed Young's participation with Rowley in overseas talks with energy multinational companies were an example of that.
Young and Khan were part of Rowley's delegation for talks with Shell and British Petroleum (BP) in London in April 2018. Young accompanied Rowley to Texas in March 2017 for talks with BP Amoco, Shell, Exxon Mobil and EOG Resources.
Tancoo said "Just when you think Government could not possibly do worse, it does."
Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein said with TT facing crime and the covid19 pandemic, Hinds' appointment "brings no hope, confidence or comfort to a fearful population."
UNC PRO Kirk Meighoo said,"Now would have been an opportune time to call for a fresh mandate and let the UNC put this country back on a progressive path. The people are fed up of the PNM."
Persad-Bissessar was expected to comment on the Cabinet mini-shuffle at the UNC's virtual report later in the evening.