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Cabinet reshuffle

Cabinet reshuffle

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Prime Minister Dr, Ralph Gonsalves has announced several cabinet shifts heightening speculation that the government is moving into election mode.

Deputy Prime Minister Louis Straker to move from the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry to take over Transport Works and Housing from May 17. {{more}}

He replaces Senator Julian Francis, who has been assigned duties in the Prime Minister’s Office. These include dealing with information, the Agency for Public Information, National Broadcasting Corporation, and special projects.

One such exercise will be “getting the Blocks to be engaged in meaningful economic activity.”

Mike Browne, the West St. George representative, has been shifted to the Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade Ministry, leaving East St. George’s Clayton Burgin who previously served as his junior Minister of State in the Education, Youth and Sports Ministry, to assume responsibility for the ministry.

The transfers have aroused some debate on the local front with speculation that the measures are designed to spruce up the Unity Labour Party’s image for the impending poll.

The last election was staged here March 28, 2001 following street protests over the passage of Bills aimed at giving pension and gratuity to Parliamentarians.

The New Democratic Party(NDP), first elected to office July 1984, won all fifteen seats in the 1989 election. They lost three seats to the Labour Party/Movement for National Unity (MNU) Coalition in February 1994 with Vincent Beache taking the South Windward constituency, Louis Straker, Central Leeward both for the Labour Party, and Dr. Ralph Gonsalves gaining the North central windward constituency on an MNU ticket.

In 1998, the election result showed eight seats to the NDP with the then formalised Unity Labour Party(ULP) securing the other seven, with a greater percentage of the electoral count.

The next general elections are due by July next year, and preparations for that event have been picking up at a rapid pace.

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