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Dec 28, 2004

PM Musa cuts Cabinet by four

Story PictureIt was a move spoken about in closed door discussions and secret meetings for weeks now but this afternoon, Prime Minister Said Musa confirmed the rumours. Four ministers have been removed from his cabinet. In a press release issued at four thirty this afternoon, the Office of the Prime Minister stated, “The cabinet will be reduced from sixteen members to twelve. This is in keeping with the Government’s commitment to good governance and the streamlining of Government’s operations to ensure more efficiency, transparency and accountability.”

The four Ministers shuffled out of the cabinet deck are:

Mark Espat, area representative for Albert who had served as Minister of Tourism, Culture and Enterprise.

Cordel Hyde, area representative for Lake Independence, and now former minister of Housing and Transport.

Eamon Courtenay, who had been appointed to cabinet in March 2003 and had been serving as Minister of Foreign Trade.

Ainslie Leslie, who was promoted from Minister of State in Natural Resources on August nineteenth to Minister of Energy and Communication has now been reinstated as a Minister of State in Natural Resources.

The new cabinet line-up is as follows:

Prime Minister Said Musa keeps Ministry of Finance and Defence but gives up Public Service.

Deputy Prime Minister John Briceno remains as Minister of Natural Resources, adds environment, but is no longer a minister of State in the Ministry of Finance.

Francis Fonseca is still the Attorney General and Minister of Education, Youth and Sports but adds responsibility for culture.

Ralph Fonseca is untouched as he keeps Home Affairs and Investment.

Vildo Marin remains the Minister of Health, loses environment but gets commerce, industry and communications.

Godfrey Smith keeps Foreign Affairs and NEMO but gets Tourism.

Jose Coye is still Minister of Works but he too loses his minister of state in finance. But he also gets Public service and Transport.

Marcial Mes is Minister of Local Government and Labour but now returns to familiar ground with Rural Development.

Servulo Baeza trades the Ministry of Agriculture for the Ministry of Housing.

Two others untouched are : Sylvia Flores as Minister of Human Development and

Assad Shoman as Minister of National Development.

Mike Espat loses cooperatives, commerce and industry but keeps Fisheries and adds Agriculture.

In the Minister of State category:

Dave Burgos moves from Works over to Agriculture.
Ainslie Leslie gets back into his seat in the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Ismael Cal moves from Agriculture to Home Affairs.
And Rodwell Ferguson leaves Home Affairs for Tourism.

But while Belmopan claims that its motives are not sinister, independent analysts see the reshuffle as a calculated hit against the gang of seven ministers who resigned from cabinet on August sixteenth in an effort to pressure the Prime Minister to assume the country’s financial reins. After days of intense meetings, on August nineteenth, the Prime Minister confirmed that all seven had returned to the fold and he had added three more to his round table, taking the number of ministers to sixteen with four ministers of state. But since then things have been tense in the halls of power as the general speculation was the Prime Minister headed a house divided. Throw in the fact that the People’s United Party’s National Convention is just two months away, in February 2005 and it’s a political plethora of conspiracy theories and power plays.

Speaking to Area Representative Mark Espat this evening, Espat declined comment saying only that he would be conferring with his committee and advisors before making any public statement.

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