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Cabinet reshuffle: PM finally shows his hand

Cabinet reshuffle: PM finally shows his hand

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A reassignment in portfolio is not necessarily a failure on the part of a minister or ministry, but can be seen as an opportunity for the readjusted parliamentarians to gain or share their expertise and knowledge.{{more}}

So says Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, as he announced a reassignment in duties, which SEARCHLIGHT had predicted two weeks ago, for six of his Cabinet members, at a press conference Monday, at Cabinet room in Kingstown.

An upbeat Gonsalves announced that as of Monday, February 20, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment will be headed by Clayton Burgin, who takes over the position from Cecil ‘Ces’ McKie.

McKie will now take the reins of the Ministry of Tourism, which was held by Saboto Caesar. McKie will also assume leadership of the Ministries of Sports and Culture, which were previously a part of the Frederick Stephenson portfolio.

Next week, Casear will be the new Minister of Agriculture, Industry, Forestry, Fisheries and Rural Transformation, taking the place of Montgomery Daniel, who will be reassigned to the Ministry of Housing, Informal Human Settlements, Lands and Surveys and Physical Planning.

The Prime Minister also announced that Elvis Charles, who was Parliamentary Secretary in the office of the Prime Minister is now Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture, with special responsibility for Sports and Culture.

According to Gonsalves, a Cabinet reshuffle is nothing new to his administration, indicating that it has been done before, since he has been Prime Minister.

Gonsalves said that as the head of the Cabinet, he is aware of what the issues are, and has to make certain judgments.

Outlining the reasons for the adjustments, he said, “You take Clayton Burgin, who has been a parliamentarian since 2001. Clayton has been a Minister of State in the Ministry of Education; he became Minister of Education. He was for a time the Minister of Transport and Works and he’s the Minister of Housing. He is a man of great experience, different ministries; he is now the Minister of Health.

“Ces Mckie has been doing a very good job and he’s had a lot of accomplishments after one year and he has put many important things in place there; but Ces will be happy too, from his personality standpoint, dealing with tourism and with sports and culture.

“In fact, you remember that there are some people when I put him in health they said that they thought that he was going to get sports and culture.

“Saboto has been doing a tremendous amount of work in industry… and you know there is a lot of revamping taking place with Vincy Fresh producing a number of commodities and Saboto is also a natural for the Ministry of Agriculture….

“Montgomery Daniel has been for… eleven years in the Ministry of Agriculture. It’s good for him to have another area of work and he has a lot of work to do in Lands, Informal Settlements and ‘Gomery is an individual who attends to a lot of details like that, where he will also do well there and he has the support of Housing and Land Development Organization….

“Frederick Stephenson has been doing very good work; but the portfolio, when you look at its size, it has kind of spread and there is a fair amount of detail and attention that has to be given to Sports and Culture; a number of regional meetings and so on and so forth; I want to ease some of that.

“And Elvis Charles, who has been my Parliamentary Secretary and who has done well here, widens his experience further and will be given special responsibility for Sports and Culture; so he works there with Ces….”

The Prime Minister indicated that future reassignments are not to be written off, as changes may be necessary from time to time.

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