Former UNC minister Vasant Bharath said on social media on Monday night that the Prime Minister had asked him to serve on the government’s “Recovery Committee” and that he had accepted.
Dr Rowley announced the formation of a 22-member “Roadmap to Recovery” committee on April 16 to deal with the economic aftermath of the covid19 pandemic.
Bharath was not among the members named then, although Rowley told the committee at its first meeting that it was “free to co-opt as you deem necessary.”
Bharath, a former MP for St Augustine, held the portfolios of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs and later Trade, Industry, Investment and Communications in the PP government.
In January this year he was reported as saying, “I will work with anyone to remove what is possibly the worst administration (ie the PNM) in living memory.”
On Monday night he posted on Facebook that he had “always advocated that the national interest must take precedence over personal ambition and political preference. As a result, I have never looked at matters of national importance through either a red or yellow lens.”
He said the crisis made it necessary to “take off the political gloves and work together for the benefit of ALL of our people.”
The country needed all hands on deck to formulate ways to “exit the lockdown with the least number of economic casualties and solid plans for keeping and creating new jobs.”
That, he said, was why he had accepted the PM’s call and was “humbled that my pair of hands were considered worthy.”
When the committee was set up, Bharath said he had advocated for such a team and wished it success, saying: “Our very future is tied to its success.”
In recent weeks Bharath has been vocal on the crisis caused by the pandemic, offering suggestions on restarting the economy, and supporting the government’s stay-at-home measures.
He disparaged the “back-and-forth rantings and ravings” between government and opposition and criticised both sides in the row over whether TT had sold a shipment of oil in the knowledge that it was destined for Venezuela.