#COVID19Chronicles-152: September 12, 2020: New government in place

PM Holness completed his Council of Ministers (29), yesterday. Ministers will be sworn in on September 14.

In areas needing special focus during the pandemic, he’s made an interesting choice for Cabinet (19 ministers) in Fayval Williams as Education Minister, who’d handled the energy, science and technology portfolio after Andrew Wheatley resigned. That portfolio now goes to Daryl Vaz.

The PM found senior spots for some of the younger MPs who’d performed well as junior ministers, notably, Floyd Green as minister for agriculture and fisheries and Pearnal Charles Jr handling housing, urban renewal, climate change and the environment (and he’d been in the Executive before as a senator). Women feature a bit more, with 6, of which 4 were previously in the Cabinet, already.

It’s largely a recycling of the old guard. Octogenarian Mike Henry is sidelined, but near him in age, Karl Samuda, stayed. Some will think that the PM missed the chance to send clear signals about inappropriate conduct, especially poor “judgement” as Cabinet ministers before, by retaining Daryl Vaz and J.C. Hutchinson (now demoted to a junior minister). A simple take on these is that they are key to party support in the country. Though, he too, plays an important part in such mobilization, Andrew Wheatley is seriously damaged goods, at the moment. Keeping Marlene Malado-Forte as attorney general will disappoint many who have seen her judgement, including on social media as often ill-timed and poorly judged in terms of content and soundness of legal advice. A highly capable attorney could have been nominated to the senate for this post, which is a more difficult one when handled by a representational politician.

I think a smaller cabinet is warranted, if only to demonstrate that leaner and more efficient, rather than a continuation of same-old structure.

Author: Dennis G Jones (aka 'The Grasshopper')

Retired International Monetary Fund economist. My blog is for organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, but spent 30 years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for two decades, and worked and travelled abroad, extensively, throughout my careers and for pleasure. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of 3 girls. Also, married to an economist. :)