Jamaica PM unveils smaller Cabinet, promises frugality and efficiency
KINGSTON, Jamaica – An 18-member Cabinet supported by four state ministers to man 14 full ministries was sworn in yesterday afternoon, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness giving the assurance that his new government will be efficient and frugal.
He also made it clear that he would not tolerate corruption among his ministers.
The new Cabinet is smaller than that of the previous People’s National Party (PNP) administration. Former prime minister Portia Simpson Miller had a 20-member Cabinet and eight state ministers.
Addressing the swearing-in ceremony at King’s House, Holness said the reduced number of ministers and the structure of the Cabinet were important signals of the direction, priority and underlying ethic and ethos of the government.
“This is the first signal that we intend to be efficient and frugal in government…We are not only interested in changing government but we are committed to changing how government works. For us to accomplish this, it requires a mature political outlook and the building of public trust – trust that, as a government, we will be frugal with the public affairs and that this takes precedence over our own personal desire for status,” he said.
The prime minister said the focus of the newly installed government would be the growth of the economy, creation of jobs and reduction of public debt.
And he said the government had been organized to accomplish that.
Holness explained that the Agriculture portfolio was combined with Industry and Commerce as a sign of the government’s intent to accelerate and intensify the vertical integration of agriculture into commercial activity.
He said the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Office of the Prime Minister will pull together agencies from across the government that are instrumental to growth and job creation.
“The benefit of the ministry, aside from investment and growth promotion activity, will be the central coordination and logistical planning of the growth agenda, but more importantly, the political imprimatur of the Office of the Prime Minister on getting our projects approved and getting the growth agenda advanced and accelerated and implemented,” Holness said.
The prime minister also announced that the government intends to build a stronger local government structure, as well as to improve its efficiency and business processes.
Along with the ministers, Marlene Malahoo Forte was also sworn in as Attorney General.
The Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State are:
1 Andrew Holness, Prime Minister – Minister of Defence, Minister of Economic Growth and Job Creation
2 Horace Chang – Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister
3 Derrick Smith – Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister
4 Daryl Vaz – Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister
5 Senator Kamina Johnson Smith – Minister of Foreign Affairs
6 Audley Shaw – Minister of Finance and Public Service
Fayval Williams – Minister of State in Ministry of Finance and Public Service
Rudyard Spencer – Minister of State in Ministry of Finance and Public Service
7 Karl Samuda – Minister of Industry, Commerce & Agriculture
8 JC Hutchinson – Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce & Agriculture
9 Robert Montague – Minister of National Security
Senator Pearnel Charles – Junior Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security
10 Delroy Chuck – Minister of Justice
11 Senator Ruel Reid – Minister of Education, Youth and Information
Floyd Green – Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information
12 Andrew Wheatley – Minister of Energy, Science and Technology
13 Desmond McKenzie – Minister of Local Government
14 Mike Henry – Minister of Transport and Mining
15 Edmund Bartlett – Minister of Tourism
16 Dr. Christopher Tufton – Minister of Health
17 Shahine Robinson – Minister of Labour and Social Security
18 Olivia “Babsy” Grange – Minister of Entertainment, Sport, Culture and Gender