Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Gonsalves announces Cabinet re-shuffle


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KINGSTOWN – Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has announced a re-shuffle of his near two-year old administration with his son, Camillo, being named as the new Minister of Finance.

The 45-year-old Gonsalves will take up the position that was held by his 71-year-old father since the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) came to power in the December 9, 2015 general election. 

Prime Minister Gonsalves had been minister of finance here since 2001, when the ULP first came to office. Prime Minister Gonsalves will remain Minister of National Security, Air and Sea Port Development, Immigration and Legal Affairs.

But the younger Gonsalves, who retains the portfolios of Economic Planning and Sustainable Development, will however shed ministerial responsibly for Industry, Information, Labour, Postal Service and the Bureau of Standards. 

Political observers say the cabinet reshuffle could provide an indication of the direction in which Gonsalves wants the ruling party to go as it prepares for a new leader and the country, a new prime minister.

The new finance minister will present his first budget to Parliament as early as December or January.

Apart from giving his son a new portfolio, Prime Minister Gonsalves, has given Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Rural Transformation Minister, Saboto Caesar, three of the portfolios that were previously held by Camillo Gonsalves, namely Industry, Labour and the Bureau of Standards.

Gonsalves and Caesar are seen as the two front-runners to head the ULP.

St Clair Jimmy Prince will take up ministerial responsibilities for Information, an extension of his former role as director of the Agency for Public Information. As Minister of Information, Prince will also be responsible for the National Broadcasting Corporation, another state-owned media outlet.

The new assignment is in addition to his current portfolios of Education, Reconciliation, and Ecclesiastical Affairs. 

Responsibility for the Postal Service will go to Senator Julian Francis, who is Minister of Transport, Works, Urban Development and Local Government.

The Cabinet reshuffle comes at a time when Prime Minister Gonsalves has been kept away from work and missed Parliament on Tuesday, amid media speculation that he is recovering from injuries he suffered when he was thrown about in his official vehicle as it swerved to avoid another vehicle last week. (CMC)


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