There are new front line faces in the Rowley Cabinet following a reshuffle announced yesterday which will see a new Attorney General
Reginald Armour replacing Faris Al-Rawi.
Al-Rawi, who served as Attorney General since the Rowley administration’s first term began in 2015, was removed and shifted to Local Government and Rural Development in a change that has been viewed as a straight out demotion.
However, Al-Rawi, in a statement last night, said, “I’m elated to deliver that assigned to me in the only way I know – by success through hard work and enterprise with all hands on deck.”
The change in the key Cabinet post of Attorney General was among several others Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley made yesterday.
The changes were made after Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat tendered his resignation yesterday morning to Rowley. This was due to personal family reasons, he said.
Rowley advised President Paula-Mae Weekes to make the changes with effect from yesterday.
Armour, a longstanding member of the legal fraternity, was sworn in immediately yesterday, with Rowley witnessing the event.
Armour is not an elected member of Parliament and will therefore be entering the Government as a Senator. He didn’t answer calls yesterday.
The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) announced the other changes in a statement.
Those revoked were:
• ↓Faris Al-Rawi as Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs
• ↓Clarence Rambharat as Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries
• ↓Pennelope Beckles as Minister of Housing and Urban Development
• ↓Camille Robinson-Regis as Minister of Planning and Development
• ↓Kazim Hosein as Minister of Local Government and Rural Development
Those appointed were:
• ↓Reginald Armour as Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs
• ↓Faris Al-Rawi as Minister of Local Government and Rural Development
• ↓Camille Robinson-Regis as Minister of Housing and Urban Development
• ↓Pennelope Beckles as Minister of Planning and Development
• ↓Kazim Hosein as Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries.
The changes also extend to the Senate, where Rambharat’s appointment was revoked. The appointment of PNM senator Yokymma Bethelmy was also revoked.
Bethelmy, who entered Parliament in 2020, was a Senate backbencher.
Entering the Senate to replace them are Armour and Laurence Hislop. They will be sworn in to the Senate at the next sitting.
Hislop was the PNM’s candidate for the Mason Hall/Moriah seat in the 2021 Tobago House of Assembly polls. He lost, however.
Also departing the Senate is former deputy Senate President Nigel De Freitas, who will assist Hosein and be responsible for Lands.
Senator Dr Muhammad Ibrahim will be appointed Deputy President of the Senate.
The size of the Cabinet remains the same with yesterday’s changes – 23.
The changes were the latest Rowley has made to his team in the two terms.
Changes were made at different points in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
Yesterday’s reassignments were the first full-blown reshuffle for this second term.
Rowley made adjustments following the April 2021 death of then Energy Minister Franklin Khan.
National Security Minister Stuart Young was appointed Energy Minister. Fitzgerald Hinds, who was in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, was appointed to head National Security.
PNM senator Foster Cummings was appointed Minister of Youth Development.
Thanks to everyone —Rambharat
Rambharat had served as Agriculture Minister since 2015 and was reappointed in 2020 despite failing to bring home the Chaguanas East seat.
In a Facebook post on his departure, he said, “This morning I formally advised the honourable prime minister that for over six years I had the opportunity to serve our country in the Senate, Cabinet and Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries.
“It was a courageous appointment by the Hon. Prime Minister. These roles and others gave me an opportunity to serve an important sector for which I am grateful. I owe my wife Camille and our children enormous gratitude for all that I have been able to do with their understanding and support.
“Serving in my country’s parliament was something I set out to do since childhood. With your help I did. To the people of Trinidad and Tobago wherever they work and whatever they do, thanks for all the love, prayers and best wishes.
“It’s Wednesday, rock so!” Rambharat concluded with a heart emoji.
Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon is tipped to replace Rambharat as Government’s Senate leader.