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Aug 31, 1998

Musa names 16 member Cabinet

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The new government of Prime Minister Said Musa has moved swiftly to name a Cabinet. After meeting in Belmopan this morning with his twenty-five fellow P.U.P. representatives, the Prime Minister announced the names of fifteen men and one woman who will chart the course of the new administration. News Five’s Stewart Krohn has the details.

The new cabinet is a mixture of youth and experience with a good measure of geographical balance. But with a house full of twenty-six elected P.U.P. representatives and a pledge to downsize the Cabinet it is not surprising that some familiar faces will not have an office in Belmopan. Here’s how the sixteen portfolios are distributed.

Prime Minister Said Musa takes finance and foreign affairs. George Price, appointed as Senior Minister, will not have a specific job but his presence in the Cabinet room will no doubt have its effect. Johnny Briceño, the Deputy P.M. will hold the natural resources portfolio, along with the increasingly important Ministry of Environment. Jorge Espat takes the key Ministry of National Security and Immigration. Max Samuels will be Minister of Transport and Communications. Ralph Fonseca becomes economic czar by assuming responsibility for budget planning and management, economic development, investment and trade. Joe Coye, the man who sent Prime Minister Esquivel into retirement, takes over commerce, industry, public service and labor. In one of the strangest new amalgamations Florencio Marin becomes Minister for the Sugar Industry, Local Government and Latin American Affairs. Dolores Balderamos Garcia takes over human development, women and youth. Dan Silva gets agriculture and fisheries. Henry Canton replaces the man he defeated as Minister of Works. Cordel Hyde moves into the crucial Ministry of Education and Sports. Mark Espat takes over responsibility for tourism. Orange Walk’s Servulo Baeza will tackle health, while Toledo’s Marcial Mes will handle rural development and culture. The only ministry to be held by someone not elected to the House is that of Attorney General and housing. To absolutely nobody’s surprise it was awarded to Dickie Bradley, who will be one of five Senators to be appointed by the P.U.P.

Some previous ministers who were bypassed this time around are Theodore Aranda of Dangriga and Mike Espat of Toledo East. Under the P.U.P. manifesto, however, the role of area representatives is to be upgraded with all House members, regardless of party, to be given increased responsibility for improving local conditions. The new Cabinet will be sworn in on Tuesday morning by the Governor General in Belmopan. Also announced today were the appointments of Bobby Leslie as Cabinet Secretary and Godfrey Smith as the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff.

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