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Jun 19, 2018

The Cabinet Reshuffle Explained…

Since it is the first time today that the media had the ears of the Prime Minister in recent times, the issue of the cabinet reshuffle was raised. Up until two weeks, ago, the Prime Minister was the titular head of the Ministry of Natural Resources. His deputy at the Ministry was Senator Carla Barnett who was in charge of the day-to-day operations of the huge and powerful ministry. Now, that ministry had over the years become rotten to the core with scandal after scandal involving land scams. Barnett had replaced D.P.M. Gaspar Vega, under whose tenure the P.M. had called Natural Resources a hot bed of corruption. But two weeks ago, her sudden move from Lands to a much smaller ministry was abruptly announced.  When asked about Doctor Barnett’s departure, the PM conceded that there were lots of complaints about the Ministry but said that while Barnett made her mark, it was difficult to steward the job and that the senator was beginning to feel the strain. The PM also went on to laud Minister Hugh Patt, who assumes office early next week.  Patt, he said, is expected to expedite services and bring much needed change to the Ministry.

 

Dean Barrow, Prime Minister

Dean Barrow

“It is really an effort to try to get improved performance in the ministry of natural resources and the lands department. Dr. Barnett went in did an excellent job. Stabilized things, I think put as far as that is possible to do a lid on corruption but it’s a wearing job for any minister to steward that particular ministry and that particular department and so she obviously was be4gining to feel the strain and I think it is in that context that she approached me and said that she would like to be reassigned. I think that Hugo Patt is young and strong; he is not completely new to that ministry because he was Gaspar Vega’s deputy at one point in time. But I think certainly from the point of view of a fresh look, a new perspective, a special burst of energy if you will. This ought to work out and the objective ought to be which objective is to speed up the process flows, to speed up the output, to speed up the services to the public. There still is a great deal of complaint despite the strides that Dr. Barnett has made. And it is all across the board, it is the regular Belizean who feels that it is taking too long for him or her to get his or her farm land or house lot, it is from the commercial sector, from the banks, from the real estate sector. So there is no doubt that despite what I am trying to say where Dr. Barnett’s efforts, there is still a bit more to be done and I really feel that Hugo Patt will be able to get behind this thing and provide a sort of impetus that will lead to continuing improvement.”

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