Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has fired his Public Administration Minister, Marlene McDonald, after she was expected to have been slapped with several charges including conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and misbehaviour in public office late Sunday night.
A government statement said that Rowley had asked President Paula Mae Weekes to relieve McDonald of her ministerial portfolio after he had been informed of the advice given by the Director of Public Prosecution to the police to charge the minister, who together with her husband, Michael Carew, had been in police custody since last Thursday.
The statement said that a new minister of public administration would be announced.
This is the third time since the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) came to power in 2015 that McDonald, a deputy leader of the party, has been sacked from the Cabinet.
She was sacked as Minister of Housing and Urban Development on March 17, 2016 while being the subject of an Integrity Commission investigation into her role in State payments to the Calabash Foundation, which is headed by Carew.
On July 2, 2017 McDonald was fired again after she turned up for her swearing-in ceremony as Minister of Public Utilities, just two days earlier, with alleged gangster Cedric Burke.
McDonald was first elected to the House of Representatives as the Member for Port-of-Spain South on 5 November 2007, at which time she was appointed Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs.
The charges against McDonald arose from the payments made to the Calabash Foundation. Carew has also been charged by the police.