Disgraced Trinidad Minister Loses Position as Deputy Political Leader of Ruling Party

FLASHBACK: Marlene McDonald on a PNM platform four years ago.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Wednesday August 14, 2019 – Marlene McDonald has not only lost her job in Prime Minster Dr Keith Rowley’s Cabinet, but she is no longer his second in command in the governing People’s National Movement (PNM).

Rowley yesterday announced her removal from the position, two days after she was fired ahead of being charged with conspiracy to defraud government and misbehaviour in public office.

The announcement came in a Facebook post.

McDonald, who has now been fired thrice from the Cabinet, faces charges of conspiracy to defraud government, along with her common-law husband Michael Carew; former head of the National Commission for Self Help, Edgar Zephyrine; and contractors Wayne Anthony and Victor McEachrane. They face a total of 49 charges.

It is alleged that while serving as a minister, McDonald approved millions of dollars in funds for organizations linked to at least two of the accused; and that all of the accused received the funds knowing or having reasonable grounds to the effect that it was criminal property and constituted criminal conduct in the form of conspiracy to defraud the government. McDonald was also charged with misbehaviour in public office.

While the other four appeared in court on Monday, McDonald did not as she was ill and was admitted to the St Clair Medical Centre where she remains. In her absence, Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earl Caddle granted her TT$2 million (US$295,980) bail. Bail was set for Carew at TT$500,000 (US$73,995), Zephyrine at TT$1 million (US$148,048), Anthony at TT$100, 000 (US$14,804), and McEachrane at TT$400,000 (US$59,206). They are all expected to appear in court on September 9.  

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