Monday, March 4, 2013

Grenada unveils new member Cabinet; says job creation top priority

by Calistra Farrier -  St. George's, Grenada
File: Grenada's PM Dr Keith Mitchell
Two of Grenada’s newly elected parliamentarians who were listed among the biggest winners of the 2013 campaign, are among three who Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell says now have "the mantle of the keeper of the flame of our democracy".

Clifton Paul, Tobias Clement and Yolande Bain-Horsford will sit on Parliamentary sub-committees normally occupied by opposition members and will not be in the Cabinet. The three will receive additional allowances for their Constituencies and be briefed weekly by a specially appointed Cabinet Committee.

Mitchell unveiled the highly anticipated Cabinet at a festive swearing in ceremony Sunday afternoon at Grenada’s national stadium, River Road, St George’s. The new government will fewer members that the last administration. 

For days the country has been abuzz with speculation about just who was going to be left out of the new Cabinet. The prime minister, who described that task as painful, used the dilemma to fix another situation, that of the absence of a formal opposition in the country, after the NNP swept the polls on February 19. Parliamentary sub-committees such as the Public Accounts Committee require non-Cabinet parliamentarians to be included. 

The prime minister called on supporters of those left out of the Cabinet to understand what he is trying to do. “The decision about who to leave out was very painful for me”, he said.

Leaving the door open for future Cabinet changes the prime minister said, “It is quite possible that people who serve as back benchers today can be full-fledged ministers in the not too distant future”.

A national bi-partisan committee and village councils are two systems the Prime Minister says will be put in place for regular accounting to the people.

In a speech designed to set the tone for national unity and cooperation and to provide hope for economic recovery Mitchell said his team understands that their priority is to secure jobs and help create an environment that will create more jobs. 

The NNP government has ascended to power at a time when the country is dealing with unemployment in the mid-forties, with mass unemployment among young people and construction workers. Mitchell assured the nation that within the first hundred days of his administration the foundation of his plan for economic expansion will become clear.

Mitchell is hoping to drive the economy through private foreign and local investments. “We cannot borrow or cut out our way out of this crisis”, he said.

The Grenadian leader announced that his government will pursue a robust foreign policy, expanding cooperation to south and Central America, Asia and Africa. He said all good investors are welcome and no one will be maligned by the government, alluding to the reputation gained by the Tillman Thomas government of being unwelcome to foreign investment.

Addressing Grenadian youths directly Mitchell said, “no time in the history of the country have we had such a talented group of young people and no other time have we offered them so little”.

He warned that if we “do not move quickly, now, we run the risk of losing an entire generation of young people. We will not let that happen”.

He called on his team to be humble, warning that the people would not tolerate arrogance.

“Insensitivity must give way to a new spring of humility”, said Mitchell, who begins his third week as Prime Minister after achieving an historic second, clean sweep of the polls. He also won all fifteen seats in 1999.
Cabinet Ministers
  1. Dr Keith Mitchell – Prime Minister, Minister for Finance, Energy, National Security, Disaster Preparedness, Home Affairs, Public Affairs, Public Administration, Implementation and Information
  2. Elvin Nimrod – Deputy Prime Minister: Attorney General, Minister for Legal Affairs, Labour, Local Government and Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs
  3. Gregory Bowen – Communications and Works, Physical Development, Public Utilities and Information Communication Technology
  4. Alvin Dabreo – Minister in the Ministry of Works, Physical Development, Public Utilities, Information and Communication Technology with responsibility for ICT
  5. Anthony Boatswain – Education and Human Resource Development
  6. Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen – Health and Social Security (NIS)
  7. Roland Bhola – Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment
  8. Nickolas Steele – Foreign Affairs and International Business
  9. Emmalin Pierre – Youth, Sports and Ecclesiastical Relations
  10. Alexandria Otway-Noel – Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture
  11. Oliver Joseph – Economic Development, Trade, Planning and Cooperative
  12. Delma Thomas – Social Development, Housing and Community Development
  • Kenny Lalsingh – Parliamentary Secretary for Finance, Home Affairs, Energy, Public Administration & Public Affairs and National Security with responsibility for implementation.
  • Winston Garraway – Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Home Affairs, Energy, Public Administration & Public Affairs and National Security
  • Sheldon Scott – Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry Youth, Sports and Ecclesiastical Affairs
  • Brenda Hood – Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture with responsibility for Culture
The other three Senators will be appointed at a later date.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai