In this regard, the Prime Minister insisted the new National Diversity and Social Integration Ministry “is not a race relations ministry.”
“It is not ethnic relations. It is our diversity in whatever regard,” she declared.
Persad-Bissessar made these comments to reporters following the swearing in of new government ministers Larry Howai (Finance and Economy), Marlene Coudray (Gender, Youth and Child Development), Ganga Singh (Environment and Water Resources) and Jamal Mohammed (Communications) by President George Maxwell Richards at Knowsley, Port-of- Spain.
“I do not agree that portfolios are created to have warm bodies there. The new portfolio areas are areas which we need to give more focus to,” she stated. Persad-Bissessar declared the new National Diversity Ministry led by Clifton De Coteau “is not a race relations ministry.”
Stating this ministry will deal with matters such as patriotism and national heroes, Persad- Bissessar said it will not duplicate the work of the Arts and Multiculturalism Ministry which deals with “expressions of culture.”
She said the new Environment and Water Resources which will be led by Singh (a former UNC public utilities minister and WASA CEO) will deal with flooding in the country.
Against this background, the Prime Minister said the drainage division of the Works and Infrastructure Ministry will be reassigned to Singh. Former Public Utilities Minister Emmanuel George, who was a permanent secretary under Singh in the former United National Congress (UNC) government, is now in charge of the Works Ministry.
Persad-Bissessar said Mohammed will have a major task as Communication Minister as communications has been identified as one of the areas in which the Government is “weakest.”
The Prime Minister also said the PP had highlighted science and technology in its 2010 election manifesto and this was why it was created as a separate ministry from tertiary education. She believe the Government was now better poised to deliver goods and services to the population.