PRIME Minister Allen Chastanet has confirmed that changes to his Cabinet are imminent , however he was tight-lipped about when this will take place and who will be affected.
The Prime Minister however said the changes, or “amendments”, which is the word he used, will be minimal, nothing big.
Whether this has anything to do with reports that the current Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mrs. Leonne Theodore-John will be resigning, the Prime Minister did not deny or confirm.
“I have no timeline in mind but it will be something that we will be doing, hopefully soon,” he said about the pending Cabinet re-shuffle.
According to Chastanet the reshuffle was always something he had indicated to in the past. He said there will be “no wholesale change”.
He stressed that the changes did not come through dissatisfaction on his part or “with anybody’s performance.”
“I’m not cutting anybody from my budget”, he said adding that the changes will “strengthen the execution of our program.”
He explained that the changes are being made because “there are some Ministries that we found that were not the synergy that…we needed”.
“The area of energy, the maintenance of our schools, my own ministry; public service is coming on as a huge project…” were some of the examples he cited.
“I will make those announcements in due time…” he said with regards to the Cabinet changes.
When asked about a potential date for the announcement of the Cabinet changes, he stated that with the budget coming up in March, that month would be a good time; “to assume that some announcements will be made.”
When asked to comment on the Speaker of the House and the resignation rumours surrounding her, the Prime Minister stated that the post of Speaker of the House of Assembly is a constitutionally protected one.
“So this idea that I’m gonna fire the House Speaker…I cannot do that we all understand that,” he said.
Pushing back against suggestions that he is “upset with (the House Speaker)”, the Prime Minister spoke about the “high regard” that he has for her, as well as their friendship.
“The Speaker is a personal friend of mine” said Chastanet before stating that she is “a lady that I have a tremendous amount of regard for.”
Scoffing at ongoing talk that he is cross with her, he said: “I sit back and I laugh at the suggestions that I’m upset with her. I’m not” adding that he has “great admiration for her.”
Although the Prime Minister stated that “I have no announcements to make”, regarding the possible resignation of the House Speaker, it was far from a denial of its possibility, as he also stated that “At the end of the day, if she needs to move and go somewhere else and it’s something that we think…would…benefit…the people of St. Lucia then we will do that.”
House Speaker Leonne Theodore-John has been denying media driven rumours of her resignation for over a year now.
She was once reported as saying “I have not been asked to resign, I want to make that clear.”
Last month, almost a year to the day after the above-referenced report, the House Speaker once again addressed questions regarding her rumoured resignation, stating; “I’m not a social media person, but I’m hearing it too. I’m here, I am the Speaker. Unless and until I decide to resign or the government or whoever moves a motion, I am still the Speaker of the House of Assembly.”