PORT OF SPAIN – Port of Spain South MP Marlene McDonald is set to return to the Cabinet.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is of the view he can no longer justify McDonald’s absence from his Cabinet, sources said yesterday.
McDonald was relieved of the housing portfolio in March 2016 after it become known the Integrity Commission was investigating several complaints against her relating to her possible role in the approval of grants to the Calabar Foundation by the Ministry of Community Development, as well as her possible role in the issuing of a Housing Development Corporation (HDC) home.
Both matters involved Michael Carew, whom she described as a friend.
There has been to date no adverse finding of the commission. And with the growing feeling that there is no apparent urgency or end in sight in this enquiry, the Prime Minister, also concerned about the seeming injustice of a member of his team, now sees no bar to using McDonald’s skills in the Cabinet.
Cabinet sources confirmed yesterday Rowley is not prepared to have a senior member of his team languish in Parliament interminably, while the commission conducts this enquiry at a leisurely pace.
As a precursor to McDonald’s imminent return, she was given the chairmanship of the Research Committee established by the Cabinet, comprising non-Cabinet members, which examines documentation and makes recommendations which the Cabinet may consider.
The commission, according to documents received by the Express, had exonerated McDonald in December 2013, on the Calabar Foundation issue.
However, in March 2015 the commission reopened its investigation, citing receipt of new information.
On October 25, 2016, the Integrity Commission also wrote to McDonald exonerating her on other allegations. (Express)