Prime Minister Allen M. Chastanet has announced a Cabinet shuffle that’s seen some ministers reassigned to new portfolios while others have remained unchanged.
According to a government press release yesterday: “The following adjustments to the Ministerial Portfolios effective November 1st 2018.
MP for Anse La Raye and Canaries Dominic Fedee, previously a Minister in the Tourism Ministry, is now the fully-fledged “Minister for Tourism, Information, Broadcasting, Culture and Creative Industries”, thus taking over a portfolio held by the Prime Minister since June 2016.
Senator Fortuna Belrose, previously a Minister in the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment, is now a “Minister in the Ministry of Tourism, Information, Broadcasting, Culture and Creative Industries, with responsibility for Culture and the Creative Industries.”
MP for Choiseul, Bradley Felix, also previously a Minister in a Ministry held by the Prime Minister, is now the fully-fledged “Minister for Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs.”
Gros Islet MP Lenard Montoute is “Minister for Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment.”
Dennery South MP Edmund Estephane is “Minister for Youth Development and Sports.”
According to the press release, “Previously appointed portfolios of members of the Cabinet remain unchanged.”
One change of note, however, has been the horizontal shifting of Senator Belrose from responsibility for Local Government.
The lady senator and Castries Mayor Peterson Francis were at loggerheads following her ministry’s commissioning of an investigation into the running of the CCC that concluded with the recommendation of appointment of a new senior officer.
Mayor Francis vehemently opposed the selection of the person recommended by the ministry, indicating that, in his view, the nominee was meant to replace him – a charge the ministry later strongly denied.
Following the end of his first two-year term as Mayor, Francis was re-appointed for a second term. However, he told this reporter at the time that he had not yet accepted the second appointment. As certain things would have to be done or clarified.
Francis later agreed to accept the position, but did not indicate what had led him to agree to accept the reappointment.
The mayor left on the weekend for an official visit to Trinidad & Tobago to meet several of his counterparts there, ostensibly to prepare him for a better second term as the capital city’s mayor.
He did not confirm or deny, however, whether there is any relationship between his acceptance of the position and the reassignment of the lady minister.
There had also reportedly been some disquiet over ministerial responsibility for Youth and Sports, with Senator Belrose – as President of St. Lucia Olympic Committee – sometimes being accused (by critics) of ‘over-shadowing’ the substantive minister, Edmund Estephane.
The press release concluded: “The Prime Minister notes that the changes are to ensure greater synergy, efficiency and improve responsiveness to the needs of Saint Lucians.”