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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Keith Bell and Alfred Sears are swapped in cabinet shakeup

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The two ministers in Prime Minister Philip Davis’ cabinet facing controversy and challenges in their ministries, prompting the Opposition’s call for resignation, have been swapped in a recent reshuffle.

Keith Bell is no longer the Minister of Immigration but have been sent to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. This comes on the heel of an “unorthodox” move of granting citizenship to three people at a funeral. And in a leaked letter, senior immigration officer in the Ministry of Immigration expressed a lack of confidence in him following the order to release 60 Chinese immigrants working on a construction site who were found to have irregularities with their documents.

In Sunday’s national address, Davis praised him for his leadership skills and experience in the Ministry of Immigration.

Davis then assigned Alfred Sears to the Ministry of Immigration and National Insurance, the post Bell held.

Sears who served as Minister of Works with responsibility for Bahamas Power and Light, was accused of misleading the House of Assembly and rejecting a plan that could have saved Bahamians $100 million on electricity bills.

Opposition leader Michael Pintard also charged that Sears and Davis were aware of the consequences of not executing the fuel hedging trades that would have kept BPL’s fuel charge low. Sears denied receiving or seeing any recommendations to continue the hedging programme and blamed the Ministry of Finance for the decision.

Eventually, Sears admitted inadvertently that he had seen the plan after initially claiming he knew nothing about it.

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. Davis, though, defended the two ministers’ actions.

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

Though swapping ministerial posts is not abnormal, it is an opportunity to reshuffle post-election.

 

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