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Reassigned Ministers’ first day on job – ready for challenges

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The four ministers of government who were reassigned in Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves’ Cabinet reshuffle say they are looking forward to the challenges they expect to face in their new portfolios.{{more}}

Earlier this week, Searchlight caught up with Saboto Caesar, Clayton Burgin, Montgomery Daniel and Cecil McKie to find out about their first day on the job in their new ministries.

Montgomery Daniel – Minster of Housing, Informal Human Settlements, Lands & Surveys and Physical Planning:

Reassigned Ministers’ first day on job – ready for challengesMy first day on the job was an interesting one. I went around the various units and met with the with the staff and senior members to find out the policy program and so on for the ministry, where we are and how we intend to move forward.

“I know for a fact the matter of Informal Human Settlements is of great concern for the development of St. Vincent. This has been a challenge and would continue to be, and so this is one of the areas I will be working on. There is also work to be done on housing, especially after (Hurricane) Tomas, and I’ll be targeting that in the near future.

“There are still issues that I would still have to be dealing with in the Ministry of Agriculture, so I don’t see it as a farewell. I’m still the chairman of Winfresh, and so I still have to integrate with the Minister of Agriculture on matters pertaining to bananas and banana export.

“Not because Minister Caesar is not a trained agriculturalist, he, too, would gain the experiences, and so we will work together to enhance the agricultural sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Agriculture has always been my profession, but, of course, one has to learn things and to accept new challenges, and so I do not see the Ministry of Housing as a difficulty. I see it as enhancing my overall experience.”

Clayton Burgin – Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment

Reassigned Ministers’ first day on job – ready for challengesThe first day has been very productive. I met the staff of the ministry. The PS took me around and debriefed me on some issues and areas, and the projects that we have in the budget estimates and where we are with them.”

“What I’m going to do is follow up on the projects and see what is the status of the resources allocated to them.

“I will be looking at the upgrading and renovation of medical facilities, like the Kingstown hospital and the work on the polyclinics in Mespo and Buccament.

“I would also be looking at those outstanding bills that we have for persons here and overseas so that we can take care of them… We will look to see how we could address that in the shortest possible time.

“I’m looking forward to my tenure as Minister of Health. It would be a wonderful challenge; and the beauty about the ministry is that there are persons here that I have worked with previously…. So the staff is a wonderful staff. There are people here who are hard working and who would do their best to promote the interest of health in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the work and improving on the work that has been done.

“All I’m asking for is the general public to play their part and look at their health and wellness in order to avoid some of the difficulties they encounter when they are unhealthy, some we can avoid, some we can’t avoid.

“I will miss the staff members there (Ministry of Housing etc), but you have to move on and do the same thing elsewhere.

“For the day, my meeting with the staff members has been very positive… and I feel that things will work along quite well for the benefit of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

Saboto Caesar – Minister of Agriculture, Industry, Forestry, Fisheries and Rural Transformation.

Reassigned Ministers’ first day on job – ready for challenges“My first day is excellent. This morning I had a meeting with my senior staff, and we were putting in place how we are going to debunk, in the quickest possible time, where we are at in the ministry.

“I have been working very closely with Minister Daniel for a lot of the transfer of the institutional memory as to where we are at.

“I intend to build on the legacies left by all the previous Ministers of Agriculture, but one of the advantages that I have is that I have one of the most creative mixes ever, in that the ministry has augmented on it Rural Transformation and Industry.

“I want to see how I can use the Industry side of it to create new infusions.

“What we are doing during the course of this week is to see how best this formulation can bring greater benefits to the entire agricultural sector, and the transformation of the rural economy and society.

“I am most definitely looking forward to my new post. I am going to give my best. I am going to devote my energies to this very challenging task. I want to note that my successes and the successes of the ministry are going to be heavily dependent on the support of every stakeholder in the agricultural sector, and particularly the farmers, who form the central pillar of the agricultural sector.

“I wish to thank all stake holders, the Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Authority’s staff for all the support over the past year.”

Cecil Mckie – Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture

Reassigned Ministers’ first day on job – ready for challenges“ My work started since I was on vacation in New York. I had several meetings with tourism, cultural and sporting organizations up there… and from various groups involved in the three sectors.

“Since yesterday (Tuesday) I visited the Arnos Vale Playing Field to get an idea of where we are in preparation to hosting the three one day internationals.

“I met with the Permanent Secretary to get an update of things. We looked at the sectors and how we can best integrate Sports and Culture into the operation of the tourism unit as it is now.

“In some cases it’s a perfect fit. You have sports tourism which will be critical going forward, and there is also cultural tourism, so we just have to build on what is already existing…. Agriculture and tourism have been identified as the two productive sectors. My question is: can we make sports and culture two additional productive sectors, and I would want to say yes. It means that we just have to identify the expertise that we have available to us and the personnel involved in the various sectors and how we can develop them and the facilities that we have available to us. The most important thing is getting the individuals and corporate society to understand the full potential, and to offer their support.

“I can look back with a sense of pride and satisfaction on what has been accomplished (as Minister of Health). We have had many succcess stories… and I think we had quite a lot of things going forward, because I was able to incorporate the various units, so they were involved and were able to identify with the process, and they participated in the success stories.

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