One day after he was appointed Minister of National Security, Emmanuel George said he intends to tackle the crime problem “head-on”.
And, his successor, Local Government Minister Suruj Rambachan, said he was “saddened” by the resignation of his former Cabinet colleague, Jack Warner.
Both ministers spoke with the media during George’s handover of his Ministry of Works portfolio to Rambachan, at the Works Ministry, Richmond Street, Port of Spain, yesterday,
Rambachan said: “I am saddened by what has happened… it was a very painful and difficult day for all of us yesterday (Sunday) but these are the ups and down of the politics.
“The Prime Minister has had to make a very difficult decision, what I call a people’s edge decision and, having made that, we support her in terms of what she has done.”
Rambachan said he did not expect any fallout for the Government by Warner’s resignation.
“I don’t expect any repercussions from Mr Warner’s resignation. I think the Government is strong, the Government is stable, we are moving forward to continuing the good work that we have been doing, and we will continue to deliver and meet the needs of the people,” he said.
As to any possible reaction against the party from Warner’s Chaguanas West constituents, Rambachan said one expects that they would be saddened by the resignation.
“ He remains committed to his constituents, he did a good job at serving his constituents and one expects that they will feel saddened by what has happened,” he said.
George, meanwhile, did not answer questions on the controversial Miscellaneous Provisions (Defence and Police Complaints) Bill, 2013, formerly the Defence (Amendment) Bill, 2013, which seeks to give powers of arrest to soldiers, saying only, “I will answer those questions in the fullness of time.”
Debate on the bill, which needs the support of at least four Independent senators to be passed in the Upper House, resumes today in the Senate, following an adjournment of the debate on April 5.
Former national security minister Warner had referred to the lack of support in the Senate as “a bump” in the road and was confident the Government would get the support of the Independent senators.
As to how he intends to tackle his new portfolio, George told the media, “I will continue to do my best. In any ministry that I have been assigned by my prime minister, I do my best. That is what I will do when I go to the Ministry of National Security. The public can expect that I will continue to be the same Emmanuel George, hardworking, and addressing the issues head-on, because I know this is a very important ministry in terms of how people feel about Trinidad and Tobago and their safety.”
With the additional responsibility for the Works Ministry added to his own Local Government portfolio, Rambachan said he saw no fallout with his local government responsibilities in light of the fact that the country is expected to hold local government elections sometime after July this year.
He said both ministries were equally important and praised George and Minister in the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Stacy Roopnarine, for doing “a very good job.” He said he was “very fortunate to be taking over on that platform which they have so successfully already built.”
Showing gushing support for George, Rambachan said he was “enthused” with George’s appointment and pointed to his colleague’s experience as a minister, and a permanent secretary.
“He has distinguished himself as minister of government in two portfolios which he has held .. and I sure that he will distinguish himself in the Ministry of National Security,” he said.
George, who will now sit on the National Security Council , was also a minister of public utilities under this administration.
Rambachan said under George he had every confidence that there would be a “further decrease in serious crime,” adding that the official police statistics already show a decreasing trend.