Trinidad Government Minister and Her Husband Jailed On Corruption Charges

August 13, 2019 in Regional

Mar­lene Mc­Don­ald the powerful Minister of Public Administration and former Minister of Housing and Deputy Leader of the ruling PNM party in Trinidad has been arrested along with her husband and hit with 7 charges of corruption stemming from stealing, squandering and misappropriation of millions of dollars while a government minister. The charges came af­ter a six-year-long inves­ti­ga­tion by the po­lice.

Snr Supt To­taram Dookhie, of the Pro­fes­sion­al Stan­dards Bu­reau (PSB), who lead the probe and the In­tegri­ty in Public Life Com­mis­sion!
Mc­Don­ald, a pow­er­house on the PNM plat­form and in Par­lia­ment, has served as the Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for the con­stituen­cy of Port-of-Spain South for 12 years. She is al­so a deputy po­lit­i­cal leader of the rul­ing PNM.

Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions Roger Gas­pard gave the po­lice ad­vice short­ly be­fore 11 pm to charge Mc­Don­ald, her companion, Michael Carew, the for­mer chair­man of the Na­tion­al Self-Help Commission Edgar Zephyrine and two con­trac­tors – Wayne An­tho­ny and Vic­tor McEachrane- with sev­er­al charges aris­ing out the dis­burse­ment of state funds from the Min­istry of Com­mu­ni­ty De­vel­op­ment and Cul­ture to help at risk youth.

Over a $1 M was disbursed to the Cal­abar Foun­da­tion, a non-prof­it or­gan­i­sa­tion in which Mc­Don­ald’s hus­band is a di­rec­tor, and two other entities. McEachrane is al­so a di­rec­tor of the Cal­abar Foun­da­tion.

Mc­Don­ald is the on­ly one who will be charged with mis­be­hav­iour in pub­lic of­fice.

The charges came af­ter a six-year-long in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the po­lice. Snr Supt To­taram Dookhie, of the Pro­fes­sion­al Stan­dards Bu­reau (PSB), who lead the probe. The In­tegri­ty Com­mis­sion had dis­missed the com­plaints pre­vi­ous­ly.

Sources said po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors were able to fol­low the mon­ey which end­ed up in pri­vate bank ac­counts of in­di­vid­u­als.

Her af­fil­i­a­tion with re­put­ed Sea Lots gang leader caused her to be fired by Row­ley in 2017 and she had been fired once be­fore for giv­ing Carew a house while she served as Hous­ing Min­is­ter in 2016.

Se­nior po­lice sources told Guardian Me­dia it may take sev­er­al hours to write the charges, and, there­fore, the ac­cused may not be charged un­til ear­ly Mon­day morn­ing. They al­so said there will be a sep­a­rate charge for every with­draw­al of ill-got­ten gains.

Of­fi­cers of the PSB swooped down on Mc­Don­ald’s home at Val­ley View, Mara­cas, St Joseph on Thurs­day morn­ing, where they ex­e­cut­ed a search war­rant and took away sev­er­al items.

Mc­Don­ald and her hus­band have been in cus­tody since then. Zephyrine was ar­rest­ed in To­ba­go on Fri­day and the two oth­er men were held that same day. Both Mc­Don­ald and Carew co-op­er­at­ed with po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors dur­ing their in­ter­views.