Saturday 26 September, 2020

UNC asks: Was Le Hunte's resignation linked to Venezuelan visit?

Flashback: Robert Le Hunte shakes hands with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley after being sworn in as Public Utilities Minister.

Flashback: Robert Le Hunte shakes hands with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley after being sworn in as Public Utilities Minister.

Did the sudden resignation of Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte have any connection with the March 27 visit of Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez and PDVSA officials?

That’s the question being raised by the United National Congress (UNC) as it said Le Hunte’s resignation is evidence that members of Dr Keith-Rowley led administration are losing confidence in his ability to govern.

Weighing in on the surprise Sunday announcement that Le Hunte resigned, the Opposition party questioned whether Le Hunte’s “professional conflict on policy positions” was linked to Cabinet fallout over the controversial meeting which it said put T&T’s relations with its allies, namely the United States, at risk.

The party probed further: “Was this resignation as a result of Members of the Rowley Government disagreeing with the untruths and betrayal of our citizens due to the actions of the Prime Minister and Minister of National Security to allow actions which pose severe repercussions towards the people of Trinidad and Tobago?”

The UNC noted that the Prime Minister made no mention of Le Hunte’s resignation when he addressed the nation at a media briefing on Saturday, despite the resignation being tendered on Friday and accepted on Saturday.

The confirmation of Le Hunte’s departure as a Minister came on Sunday by way of a brief statement from the Ministry of Communications.

The UNC said: “The Prime Minister addressed the population at length during a media briefing on Saturday but failed to let us know that not only has a key member of his Government resigned but a member who is integral in the Committee established by the Prime Minister to develop a post-Covid recovery plan.

The party added: “Yet again, we see Prime Minister Rowley ignoring the principles of accountability and transparency in public affairs.” 

The UNC said the move is indicative of instability and haphazard leadership at a time when the country is in need of strong and stable governance.

The party criticised the PNM’s leadership and handling of T&T’s affairs in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and urged Dr Rowley to call the general elections now.

In confirming his resignation, Le Hunte only cited professional conflict on policy positions, but no further explanation was provided.

Le Hunte is being replaced in the Senate by radio personality Jason Williams, while Fitzgerald Hinds will take on the Ministerial portfolio at the Ministry of Public Utilities.

He will, however, continue to serve as the PNM’s Vice Chairman. 

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