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McUse meritocracy to appoint Ministers

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Putting partisan politics aside for the good of the nation, former US President Barack Obama had three Republicans in his Cabinet.

President Obama broke the glass ceiling on many levels when he won the US Presidency in 2008. The one key area he did so was in appointing three Republicans into his otherwise Democrat Cabinet. No other President in US history has appointed that number of Cabinet members from members of an opposing political party.

In 2009, Defence Secretary Robert Gates was appointed by Obama to his Cabinet. Gates had served under several Republican administrations, and though he dropped his party registration to present an apolitical appearance while with the CIA, Gates himself said in December 2008, “I consider myself a Republican.” The other two Obama appointees were registered Republicans: Ray LaHood, a former congressman from Illinois, as secretary of transportation; and Sen Judd Gregg of New Hampshire as commerce secretary.

Other US Presidents have appointed Cabinet Ministers from the other side of the political aisle. Most notable are:

• George W Bush: Democrat Norman Mineta, transportation secretary.

• Bill Clinton: Republican William Cohen, defence secretary.

• Ronald Reagan: William Bennett was a Democrat when appointed as education secretary in 1985.

• Jimmy Carter: Republican James Schlesinger, who served as defence secretary under Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, was tapped by Carter as America’s first energy secretary.

• John F Kennedy: Republicans C Douglas Dillon as treasury secretary and Robert Mc Namara as defence secretary.

• Dwight D Eisenhower: Democrat and Labour Secretary Martin Patrick Durkin, the “plumber” among Eisenhower’s so-called “Nine Millionaires and a Plumber” Cabinet.

When will Trinidad and Tobago become so politically mature and select Cabinet Ministers based on meritocracy and what is best for the country?

When will we finally live by the words of the pioneer of the International Criminal Court, Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson: “Our country cries out for men and women who cannot be bought and sold? Men and women who are prepared to put principle before personality, country before self and morality before power” (ANR Robinson, pioneer of the International Criminal Court)

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