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Trinidad : Prime Minister Patrick Manning in Cuba as speculation remains on new Minister of Energy

Port of Spain, 13 Jan. 06 [AlterPresse] --- Prime Minister Patrick Manning returns from Cuba January 14 in the night as speculation remains high over who he intends to appoint as the new Minister of Energy and Energy Industries.

Manning was in Cuba, for what Whitehall called a routine medical check-up.

In October, 2004, Manning went to Cuba to have a pacemaker implanted to regularise his heartbeat and has returned to the communist Caribbean state several times for such check-ups.

He left for Cuba on January 12 in the morning without announcing a replacement for Port-of-Spain South MP Eric Williams, who resigned as Energy Minister on January 8.

Williams resigned less then 24 hours before he appeared in court to face seven charges of misconduct in public office for allegedly receiving a total of $75,000 in bribes in 2003 concerning an ongoing seismic project in Pt Galeota.

The Energy Ministry’s acting permanent secretary is now in charge of the Ministry’s day-to-day affairs.

However, all matters that require ministerial approval will be referred to the Prime Minister until a new Energy Minister is appointed.

When Ortoire/Mayaro MP Franklin Khan resigned as Works and Transport on May 8, 2005, Manning did not announce his replacement, Diego Martin East MP Colm Imbert, until May 15, 2005.

In Manning’s absence, Cabinet met on January 12 for the first time since Williams resigned on Sunday.

However, there was no word on whether the Cabinet discussed who would be appointed as his replacement.

Unlike, last meeting on January 12 there was no post-Cabinet press conference this week.
Acting Prime Minister Dr Lenny Saith chaired the meeting of the Cabinet in the absence of Manning, Trade and Industry Minister Kenneth Valley and Foreign Affairs Minister Knowlson Gift.

“The appointment of a minister is a matter for the Prime Minister,” Saith said when contacted last evening.

“The Prime Minister was not in the country.”

Saith did not disclose what was discussed at the Cabinet meeting. [Exilus Deceyon - apr 13/01/2006 17:40]