Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley has once again taken up the portfolio of Public Utilities Minister, after Robert Le Hunte who was only recently sworn in, was discovered to be a Ghanaian national.
This means that Le Hunte is not qualified to be a Minister, as according to section 42 (1) of the Trinidad and Tobago Constitution, a person shall be qualified to be appointed as a Senator if, and shall not be qualified to be so appointed unless, he is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago of the age of 25 or over.
The Office of the Prime Minister noted that Le Hunte’s appointment as both a Minister and a Senator was suspended with immediate effect.
“It has come to the attention of the Honourable Prime Minister that Mr Robert Le Hunte is a citizen of Ghana and accordingly he is not qualified under section 42(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to be appointed as a Senator.”
“Accordingly, the Honourable Prime Minister has so informed the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.”
The four day Public Utilities Minister will be given an opportunity to relegate his citizenship status.
“Mr Le Hunte will be rectifying his position and once this is done the Honourable Prime Minister will appoint him as a Senator and as Minister of Public Utilities. Under these circumstances, until the matter is rectified, the Honourable Prime Minister will assume the portfolio of Minister of Public Utilities.”
According to the Office of the Prime Minister, the situation is expected to be rectified by Friday, September 1.
Under Section 42 of the Constitution, a person’s appointment as a senator can be disqualified if they are a citizen of a country other than Trinidad and Tobago having become such a citizen voluntarily or is under a declaration of allegiance to such a country.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has been managing the post of Public Utilities Minister since the revocation of the appointment of former Housing Minister Marlene McDonald.
McDonald spent two days as Minister after she was accompanied to her swearing-in ceremony by Cedric “Burkie” Burke who was in 2011 arrested and charged under the anti-gang law, arousing controversy.