Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Davis reshuffles cabinet in midterm move: What you need to know

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As was expected after Prime Minister Philip Davis prorogued the House of Assembly last month, he announced a major reshuffle of his cabinet on Sunday evening, less than two years after taking office.

The changes affect a few ministers and several state portfolios, and are aimed at improving the performance and efficiency of the government as it faces multiple challenges.

According to Davis, the reshuffle was based on consultations with his ministers and an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. Davis said he wanted to ensure that each minister was in a position to best serve the country.

Here are some of the notable changes:

Jomo Campbell who was serving as Minister of State for Legal Affairs, will become the new Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources. He will replace Clay Sweeting, who will take over the Ministry of Works and Family Island Affairs from Alfred Sears.
Alfred Sears will move to the Ministry of Immigration and National Insurance, where he will succeed Keith Bell. Davis praised Bell’s leadership and said he will now head the Ministry of Housing and Urban Renewal, which was previously under JoBeth Coleby-Davis.
JoBeth Coleby-Davis will become the new Minister of Energy and Transport. Coleby-Davis will also oversee the newly created portfolio of Minister of State for Aviation, which will be held by Basil McIntosh.
Pia Glover-Rolle, who was hailed as a “bright star” by the Prime Minister for her role as Minister of State for Public Service, will be promoted to Minister of Labour and Public Service. She will take over Labour from Keith Bell.
Zane Lightbourne will become Minister of State for the Environment.
– Davis also said there will be some changes in other ministerial portfolios, but he did not provide any details. He said he will announce them later.

Why the shuffle?

Davis’ timing on reshuffling his Cabinet comes after he suddenly prorogued the House of Assembly on August 14. Political observers then highly anticipated that he would reshuffle the Cabinet during this time.

The Opposition, weeks before the prorogation, called for the resignation of Immigration Minister Keith Bell and Works Minister Alfred Gray who were ensnared in controversies in their perspective ministries. Though Davis has not publicly announced his reasoning for the reshuffling, he noted that it is “my halfway point before we move into what I call election mode.”

Typically, a reshuffle happens when a prime minister’s popularity decreases and when Cabinet ministers act out of order and drifts away from the prime minister’s agenda. Though it is not abnormal, it is an opportunity to reshuffle post-election.

It is his responsibility to replace low preforming ministers in high priority portfolios.

What the Opposition says?

Opposition Leader Micheal Pintard called the reshuffle “lackluster” and and indication that Davis knows his government’s popularity is decreasing with the public.

“The names attached to the government plate may be different, but little has changed.”

When the House was prorogued, questions tabled by the Opposition in regard to Keith Bell’s dealings in his ministerial portfolio and government’s procurement act remained unanswered.

“When these ministers finally return to work, there will still be over one hundred unanswered questions on the desk from the Opposition,” Pintard reminded them.


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