Office of the Prime MinisterGood evening fellow citizens. On May 24th I signalled to the nation my intention to carry out a reconfiguration of the Cabinet. Since then I have met quietly with people from all sectors of society to gather views and opinions from the widest cross-section of the population as possible.
I have also interviewed and considered several candidates from within and outside of my Cabinet and evaluated several presentations. I have entertained discussions with the government’s strongest critics and most ardent supporters both of whom have helped provide me with broader perspectives. As someone once said, the best way to understand people is to listen to them. I have also sought wisdom and guidance through prayer and meditation.
There are new faces in the Cabinet and major shifts in responsibilities and portfolios as I sought to get the most out of the best fit possible. The changes made should not be seen for any one as an indictment on performance. Each member of my Cabinet has worked tirelessly in service to the nation and I am proud of their contribution. Our task was challenging from the very start.
The government was elected on the wings of huge expectations from a population that had already waited too long for far too much. We assumed office after a period of excessive spending that had not addressed critical social and people centered needs. The result was a depleted Treasury and a nation in urgent need of help in so many areas.
It became our greatest challenge to stabilise the economy while investing heavily in addressing these needs, from broadening the social assistance programmes, fixing the CLICO issue, settling some 36 wage negotiations and broadening the development of the country for the first time into areas that had been neglected for decades.
And we had to do it while protecting ourselves from the effects of a global economy that is reeling under the weight of a recession. But it is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness. We had the courage to take bold, new steps. Whether it was education, agriculture, crime, health, roads, the initiatives were strident and results driven. Against all odds we persevered and delivered much, always cognisant of the fact that we were elected for the very reasons that challenge us now as a government.
But as I see it, the government has two choices, we can pat ourselves on the back and say under the circumstances, “well done,” or we can look at all we did not achieve, we can choose instead to listen to those who are not satisfied, we can measure the way forward by looking at areas where we have gone wrong or not done enough, we can reassess approaches and strategies, improving upon everything in every way possible. We can choose to work harder, to do more, and to be urged on by the criticisms even as we are inspired by the congratulations.
The reconfiguration of my Cabinet will meet with reviews from all over and everyone will have their say one way or the other. I ask one thing of every consideration made and that is to acknowledge what change is possible from within us all.
It is there in the most iconic symbol of change there could be, an oil drum, hammered out into the only musical instrument in the world developed in the last century, the steelpan. Over the next few years Trinidad and Tobago will undergo a similar transformation borne out of the same ingenuity, creativity and innovativeness which our people have become so famous for.
It is time to reclaim that self-belief. Our nation enters a new phase of its development where talents and resources are harnessed from people across all boundaries. We are all in this together. It touches each of us so we are all part of the solutions which your government now leads. In every area of the nation’s development our citizenry has a role to play and a purpose to serve.
The changes which I am about to announce in the Cabinet must deliver a level of competence and performance for an impatient and expectant population. I have been very clear on what is required of each member of the new Cabinet. In my discussions with these men and women who will now take us forward into another phase of our development, I reaffirmed the oath we all took in 2010 and of the promise we made to our people to serve the people with humility.
I urged then that“We must accept no mediocrity. Neither must we contribute to it in any way. There must be no room for arrogance. We must be faithful to a leadership style that is firm, but humble, passionate and impatient for great achievements, but ever conscious of the correct procedures.”
Those words are as relevant now as they were then. I recall them now as a renewal of our commitment to you.
There is no room for egosnor personal agendas. Every single appointment made by me has received the full support of those selected.
Fellow citizens, it is with great pride and honour that I announce your government’sperformance team: Minister of National Security Jack Warner, M.P Minister in the Ministry of National Security Collin Partap, M.P Minister of Legal Affairs Prakash Ramadhar, M.P Attorney General Senator AnandRamlogan Minister of the People and Social Development Dr. Glenn Ramadharsingh, M.P Minister in the Ministry of the People and Social Development VernellaAlleyne-Toppin, M.P Minister of Education Dr. Tim Gopeesingh, M.P Minister of Housing Dr. RoodalMoonilal, M.P Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development Marlene Coudray Minister of Justice Herbert Volney, M.P Minister of Public Administration Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, M.P Minister of Energy Senator Kevin Ramnarine Minister of Labour& Small & Micro Enterprise Dev't Errol McLeod,M.P Minister of Transport ChandreshSharma,M.P Minister of Sport Anil Roberts, M.P Minister of Planning Sen. Dr. BhoendradattTiwarie Minister of Public Utilities NizamBaksh, M.P Minister of Tobago Development Dr.Delmon Baker, M.P Minister of Local Government Dr.SurujrattanRambachan,M.P Minister in the Ministry of Local Government RudranathIndarsingh,M.P Minister of Works and Infrastructure Sen. Emmanuel George Minister in the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure Stacy Roopnarine,M.P Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism Dr. Lincoln Douglas,M.P Minister of Health Dr.Fuad Khan M.P Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister Rodger Samuel, M.P Minister of Tertiary Education Senator FazalKarim Minister of Tourism Stephen Cadiz,M.P Minister of Community Development Winston Peters,M.P Minister of Food Production Sen.DevantMaharaj Minister of State in the Ministry of Food Production JairamSeemungal, MP Minister of Science & Technology Dr.Rupert Griffith Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Dookeran, M.P Minister of Trade, Industry & Investment Sen.VasantBharath Minister of the Environment & Water Resources Ganga Singh Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment & Water Resources Ramona Ramdial, M.P Minister of National Diversity & Social Integration Clifton De Coteau Minster in the Ministry of National Diversity & Social Integration Senator Embau Moheni Minister of Communication Jamal Mohammed Minister of Finance & The Economy (with responsibility for Caribbean Airlines) Larry Howai Deputy Speaker Nela Khan,M.P
Fellow citizens, the leadership team assembled here is reposed with the greatest of responsibility. Having reconfigured our Government, I expect now that we can continue, with greater impetus and determination to fulfill our promise to deliver our people and country to unprecedented development and progress.
As we move forward, we must outdo our own performance. We must lift our own benchmarks. We must surpass our own targets.
Let us all join together to become part of the effort to further this new beginning for our great nation.
May God bless you all and may God bless our nation
Delivered June 22nd, 2012