Minister of Public Administration
THE HONOURABLE MARLENE Mc DONALD
MR. MAXIE CUFFIE
Mr. Maxie Cuffie first entered Parliament as the representative for La Horquetta/Talparo, having won the seat following the General Election of September 7, 2015.
He was appointed Minister of Communications on September 11, 2015 by Dr. the Hon. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
On March, 17th, 2016, Minister Cuffie was re-assigned from Minister with responsibility for Communications to Minister with responsibility for Public Administration and Communications.
The Honourable Marlene McDonald was first elected to the House of Representatives as the Member for Port-of-Spain South on November 05, 2007, at which time she was appointed Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs.
From 2010 to 2015 she served in the Parliament as Opposition Chief Whip.
The Honourable Marlene McDonald was re-elected to the House of Representatives of the 11th Parliament on September 07, 2015. She was appointed Minister of Housing and Urban Development, a position she held until March 17, 2016.
Minister Cuffie currently oversees the public service, delivery of Government services to citizens, coordination of Government communications, telecommunications and Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Before becoming a Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament, Minister Cuffie was the Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Media Company Limited where he served for four years; prior to which, he served at the helm of Government Information Services Limited (GISL) as its Chief Executive Officer for three years. Preceding his GISL appointment, he was the Advisor, Policy and Media Research at the Ministry of the Attorney General where he provided strategic advice to the Attorney General on policies to strengthen the capacity of the Attorney General’s office, while informing on best practices and experiences in the implementation of media strategies. Minister Cuffie’s vast experience in the media industry was honed through several prominent positions at media organizations in Trinidad and Tobago.
From 1983-1989 at the Express Newspaper Limited, after beginning as a Sport Reporter and later moving to the business desk, he continued his Editorial role by leading the Sunday Guardian and then the Trinidad Guardian at Trinidad Publishing Company Limited to market dominance.
While at the Guardian, he was awarded the United Kingdom Harry Brittain Fellowship for young Commonwealth Journalists and then the Reuters Foundation Fellowship as a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University.
On June 30th 2017, she was appointed Minister of Public Utilities, a position she held until July 1st 2017. An experienced parliamentarian, she was appointed to serve as the Minister in the Ministry of Public Administration and Communications on March 01, 2018 and elevated to the position of Minister in the Ministry on April 09, 2018 to present.
In addition to her Ministerial appointments, Minister McDonald has served on several committees of Parliament including the Public Accounts Committee and the Committee for Finance and Legal Affairs.
She is the current Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
After leaving the Guardian, he would lead the Independent Publishing Company Ltd as Managing Editor for two years. It was at the Caribbean Communications Network as Head of News and Current Affairs, after working as Sunday Express Editor from 1998-2003 that Minister Cuffie’s reputation for effective leadership and innovative thinking were cemented.
Minister Cuffie successfully reversed circulation slide and maintained the number one market position for the Sunday Express and took the TV6 network to over 500,000 viewers for the first time since its establishment in 1991. He was awarded the One World Broadcasting Trust Fellowship for senior Commonwealth broadcast executives in 2002 and was also recognized by the Fletcher Challenge Corporation for producing one of the three top Commonwealth newspapers. Undeniably, his success at managing various entities as well as his proven record for introducing new thinking and strategies to engender change and growth were noted, leading to his current Ministerial portfolio and service to the nation.
Minister Cuffie is the holder of a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) degree from the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he specialized in Strategic Management and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics and Accounting from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. He has also received training in the Economics of Information, Media Industries and Systems (while enrolled at Harvard University.
Mrs. Joan Mendez was formerly a Training Officer/Human Resource Adviser at the then Central Training Unit, Personnel Department with responsibility for developing and implementing training programmes for all categories of staff in the public service. Mrs. Mendez also served as Dean for the Human Resource Management programme on the Promotions Course for entry in the Administrative Class in the public service.
Mrs. Mendez was assigned as a Job Analyst, in the job evaluation exercise for the teaching and protective services at the Job Evaluation Office, Personnel Department in 1994.
During the period January 1999 to August 2000, Mrs. Mendez was employed as Human Resource Manager, on contract, at the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs with responsibilities for designing the Human Resource Management Division, establishing an information management system for HR, developing a training and development plan for the ministry, engaging with key stakeholders in the development of a strategic plan and assisting the Permanent Secretary in change management and organisation development initiatives for the transformation of the Youth facilities.
Mrs. Mendez also held the position of Human Resource Manager at the Ministry of Public Administration from September 2000 and was involved in managing the transition to Human Resource Management and collaborating with other divisional heads in undertaking other initiatives in respect of knowledge management and executive development training, until her promotion to the post of Director Human Resources at the then Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, in April 2001.
At the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, Mrs. Mendez led a team of Human Resources Officers and support personnel in the Human Resource Management Division in the implementation of HR functions and activities for legal and non-legal personnel.
Mrs. Mendez undertook change management and strategic management initiatives, implementing the new performance management system, establishing and re-structuring various units/sections to be more aligned with the strategic priorities of the Ministry, acquiring and building HR capacity of legal and non-legal staff in the various legal departments. Mrs. Mendez also assisted in the implementation of the Employee Assistance programme in accordance with the EAP policy for the public service.
In 2007, Mrs. Mendez was appointed to act as Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she was responsible for the co-ordination and management of the various administrative and technical support units and overseeing the administrative and financial affairs as well as the supervision of the facilities and property management portfolio for the Overseas Missions.
Mrs. Mendez also managed the Public Sector Investment Programme, chaired the health and safety committee and provide advice to the Permanent Secretary on issues affecting the Foreign Service personnel and locally recruited staff at the missions.
Whilst at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Mendez also acted as Permanent Secretary on various occasions during her tenure until her continuous acting appointment as Permanent Secretary, at the Office of the Prime Minister in 2012.
At the Office of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Mendez provided managerial support to the then Minister of State who had the responsibility for HIV Co-ordination, Freedom of Information, Research and other administrative support units. Mrs. Mendez was appointed Permanent Secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister in 2013.
Mrs. Mendez was appointed to act as Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister from May to October 2015 and undertook duties relating to the provision of professional and executive administrative support to the Prime Minister in respect of the schedule of responsibilities under the portfolio of the Office of the Prime Minister.
In October 2015, Mrs. Mendez was transferred to the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs as Permanent Secretary where she was involved in undertaking change projects involving the development of the sport policy, the review of the youth policy, re-aligning /re-structuring initiatives and other administering projects relevant to the sport and youth portfolios, until her transfer to the Ministry of Public Administration and Communications as Permanent Secretary, in October, 2016.
Mrs. Mendez was recently appointed in her personal capacity, to the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This Committee is responsible for providing policy advice and programmatic guidance to ECOSOC on issues pertaining to governance and public administration, in particular with respect to the implementation and follow up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Mrs. Mendez is the holder of a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Spanish, Economics and Government) from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management (with distinction), University of the West Indies, St. Augustine and a Master of Science Degree in Human Resource Management and Development, from the University of Manchester. Mrs. Mendez also possesses certification in alternative dispute resolution, project management, monitoring and evaluation of projects, organisation change and leadership development.
Mrs. Mendez has thirty-six years public service experience.