The Ministry of Public Utilities has appointed Shakeer Baig acting Assistant Director in the Meteorological Services Division (MSD) to manage the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS) operations.
The appointment took effect from August 9. Baig joined the TTMS in 1989 as a meteorological assistant and is a qualified meteorologist with training from the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service in the United States of America. He has also served as the acting director of the Meteorological Services Division on several occasions.
The change in the TTMS’ leadership comes on the heels of a bizarre radio interview by the previous director of the MSD, Ezekiel Sampson. Sampson had disagreed with a decision by the National Hurricane Center to upgrade Tropical Storm Elsa to a hurricane as it moved across Barbados in early July.
Inexplicably, Sampson also said in early July, “the system (Elsa) doesn’t have any moisture so, therefore, I am not seeing that system surviving any further,” as the then Hurricane Elsa moved over the Caribbean Sea.
Following the interview, the Ministry of Public Utilities, under which the TTMS falls, issued a statement giving details about Hurricane Elsa and its expected impact on T&T.
The ministry then launched an investigation into the public utterances. It was referred to the Public Service Commission (PSC) and was dealt with under the Public Service Regulations.