PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Tuesday August 29, 2017 – Just four days after being sworn in as a Senator and Minister of Public Utilities in Trinidad and Tobago, Robert Le Hunte has had his appointment revoked. And it’s over his Ghanaian citizenship.
But if all goes according to plan, he will be back in the position in another few days.
Le Hunte was sworn in last Thursday, becoming the country’s fifth Minister of Public Utilities since the People’s National Movement took office in September, 2015. He took over the portfolio Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley held since June this year after he fired previous minister Marlene McDonald.
However, a statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday indicated that Le Hunte’s citizenship of the African nation where he previously resided and worked as a banker, had ruled him out of holding the position.
“It has come to the attention of the Honourable Prime Minister that Mr Robert Le Hunte is a citizen of Ghana and, accordingly, he is not qualified under section 42(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to be appointed as a Senator. Accordingly, the Honourable Prime Minister has so informed the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago,” it said.
However, the statement added: “Mr Le Hunte will be rectifying his position and once this is done, the Honourable Prime Minister will appoint him as a Senator and as Minister of Public Utilities. Under these circumstances, until the matter is rectified, the Honourable Prime Minister will assume the portfolio of Minister of Public Utilities. It is expected that this situation will be rectified by Friday, 1 September, 2017.”
Le Hunte had been an executive director at HFC Bank Ghana Limited since April 2013 and its executive director of risk management until April 2015. He was then managing director from April 2015 to August 21, 2017.
He previously served as General Manager of Special Projects at Republic Bank Limited; Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Barbados National Bank Inc.; and Director of National Enterprises Limited.
Le Hunte is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Trinidad and Tobago.