Surrounded by members of his Cabinet Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced the much anticipated changes to his Cabinet. This included the addition of two new members of cabinet and the division of one ministry. While a new anti crime plan will be unveiled on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said the changes are as a fundamental need to confront and defeat the challenge or crisis we have encountered as it relates to crime and violence.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“What was the Ministry of National Security will now be split into two. It has struck me and in speaking with Mr. Perdomo he confirmed that that ministry with all the portfolio subjects that come under it is too large; it is very difficult for one person to handle. We will now have as was the case in years past a separate Ministry of Defense and then we will have a dedicated Police and Public Security Ministry. That Police and Public Security Ministry will be headed by a minister who has no constituency to look after in terms of a political constituency, who has tremendous experience in private sector, who is able to speak the language of the stake holders we have been consulting who in fact formed part of the group that drafted the outlines of the plan that ultimately benefited so much from the consultations and what people had to say during those consultations. The news minister of the Police and Public Security will be Senator the Honorable Douglas Singh. The Honorable Carlos Perdomo will be the new Minister of Defense. No one need fear that separating the defense ministry from the police ministry will cause us to lose anything in terms of weight of numbers. Internal security is principally a matter for the police when there is a need to press the defense force and as has happened in Operation Jaguar even the Coast Guard into service to assist the police we will do that. Ultimately everybody report to National Security Council that I chair.”
The Prime Minister said the new Minister of Police and Public Security will need help from other front line ministries. Another change is that Minister of Education Patrick Faber will now take on the additional portfolio of Youth; a challenge Minister Faber told Love News he is looking forward to.
Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
“Well, I think it is a perfect marriage. It is something that one ministry or one portfolio complements the other. As you know many of our initiatives in the Ministry of Education over the last two years have been geared towards the young people and in fact the main focus of our ministry is to help young people develop themselves to that position where they can be productive in society. So we see the addition of the portfolio of youth to be and enhancement and it will be more work there is no doubt but we think that it can complement the work of the Ministry of Education and it can build on what is happening in the Ministry of Youth. What immediately comes to mind for instance is the Cadet Corps, the CYDP, the Youth for the Future and we see many different approaches being taken here. This is addition in of course to those in the private sector and those from the NGO’s and we believe that the more coordinated we can get the efforts to help our young people to be productive the better it is for this nation.”
Another major change is the appointment of a new Attorney General.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“Police reform, Magistrate’s Court reform, judicial reform or at least creating the conditions for movement, creating movement so that we can see that together with whatever the police and the social ministries are doing we can move cases through the court process, we can perhaps have a dedicated court to deal with particular crimes. The crafting of new rules and regulations for the police department in the context of the reform of the department and the need to strengthen internal discipline and accountability, the need for some degree of freedom consistent with due process to be able to root out rogue elements within the police department. All these things will require a kind of legal backstop that also necessitates in my view the appointment of an Attorney General who can concentrate on just that. I have therefore asked Mr. B.Q. Pitts Senior Counsel to become. ”
Prime Minister Barrow said the appointment of the new attorney general should see an improvement as with the necessary reforms, cases should move more quickly through the courts. Other cabinet changes include Minister John Saldivar adding the Ministry of Sports to his present portfolio of Public Service, Governance Improvement and Elections and Boundaries. Minister Melvin Hulse loses the portfolio of Public Utilities to Minister Elvin Penner who while he lost the Youth Ministry retains that of Information and Broadcasting.