The new federal Cabinet was named this past Sunday during a grand ceremony, however none of its members’ government portfolios included the important sector of lands. With all the pomp and grandeur analogous to a presidential inauguration, the six winning candidates of the St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party along with two senators and a new Attorney General were sworn into office. In the presence of Governor General His Excellency Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, the new 9-member Labour administration swore the Oaths of Allegiance, Office and Secrecy delivered By Justice Frances Belle in front of thousands of SKNLP supporters gathered at the Warner Park Cricket Stadium. Dr. Douglas had been sworn in as Prime Minister on January 27th.Under the new Cabinet, Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas will once again be directly responsible for the Ministry of Finance, a sector he relinquished to Hon. Timothy Harris in 2008. Dr. Douglas’ portfolio, which previously contained Lands, now includes Sustainable Development and Human Resource Development. Hon. Sam Terrence Condor resumes his post as Deputy Prime Minister and is now Minister of Foreign Affairs, National Security, Labour, Immigration and Social Security. His previous portfolio comprised the ministries of Education, Youth Affairs, Information and Technology, Labour and Social Security. Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris, former Minister of Finance, International Trade, Industry and Commerce, and Consumer Affairs now has the portfolio of International Trade, Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, Marine Resources, Consumer Affairs and Constituency Empowerment. Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin remains Minister of Public Works and Utilities, picking up Housing and Energy and losing Transport and Posts. First time candidate Hon. Glenn Phillip was given the portfolio of Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports, Information Technology, Telecommunications and Posts. Hon. Marcella Liburd, also a newcomer to the fold, was appointed Minister of Health, Social Services, Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs. The Ministry of Health was previously held By Hon. Rupert Herbert who retired from active politics last year. Senator hon. Nigel Carty returns to Cabinet as the new Minister of Education and is also responsible for Information. Senator Hon. Richard Skerritt remains as Minister of Tourism and is also responsible for International Transport. The sole Nevis Reformation Party candidate to win a federal seat in the January 25th general elections, Hon. Patrice Nisbett, was appointed Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs. Nisbett, Deputy Speaker of the House in the National Assembly in the former parliament, is currently the Legal Advisor to the Nevis Island Administration. Nisbett replaces former AG Dennis Merchant who could not resume the post due to dual citizenship conflict. Nisbett’s appointment was heralded By Dr. Douglas as “a strong gesture towards fostering positive relations between the federal government and the Nevis Island Administration as well as the people of the twin-island Federation”. Premier of Nevis Hon. Joseph Parry described it as a historic moment for Nevisians, adding that the NRP representative is now positioned to advance the agenda of Nevis in the federal government. “In one stroke, through the appointment of the Hon. Patrice Nisbett as the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, we have placed ourselves strategically to do many things for Nevis. The appointment of Nisbett will make it easier for Nevis to carry out the mandate for the island and also Nevis would be better positioned for autonomy By negotiation and mutual understanding which would make any Caribbean island proud,” Parry said. Labour’s two unsuccessful candidates, first timer Dr. Norgen Wilson and former Minister Cedric Liburd will both serve the Labour administration in the capacity of advisors in the ministries of Ministry of National Security and Immigration, and Ministry of Tourism and International Transport respectively. The People’s Action Movement party commented on the newly named Cabinet, pouncing on the absence of Lands in the Cabinet portfolios, referring to it “conspicuously missing” and also making reference to the removal of Finance from Hon. Dr. Harris’ portfolio as a “demotion”. Dr. Harris’ blue undershirt worn for Sunday’s ceremony was in fact in stark contrast to that of his fellow Labour candidates and Cabinet members who either wore red ties or red undershirts. The opposition party’s press statement also spoke to Nisbett’s appointment saying, “[Douglas] has bought himself the insurance of an extra MP on the government benches in AG Nisbett.” The new Cabinet met for the first time on Wednesday and although no agenda was made public, Dr. Douglas has placed reduction in the national debt, growing the economy, completion of several projects and public sector reform as priorities for his new administration.
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