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Mar 14, 2012

Ministers Swear Oath and Set to Task

There are twenty-one members to the new Cabinet led by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, that’s only one less than the previous Cabinet when the Barrow administration had a super majority in his first term. The ministers and ministers of state took the oath this morning at Belize House. The first official meeting of Cabinet is set for next Tuesday to be followed by the ceremonial opening of the House of Representatives which will see an energized and stronger opposition. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports from Belmopan.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

A crowd of well wishers and supporters draped in red, cheered loudly outside of Belize House, the Governor General’s official residence in the Capital.  They were there waiting for their area representatives to become ministers and ministers of state. Inside, the group of twenty-one swore the oath.

{Ministers taking Oath…}

After the oath, senior party members like Mesopotamia’s Finnegan, who never lost an election, signed on the dotted line.

The four senators who were appointed ministers also sat in front of the Governor General. First was Lisel Alamilla, now Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, Sustainable Development and Indigenous People. Then the second female minister, Joy Grant penned her name to become Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities Minister. Senator Charles Gibson eclipsed his years as a public servant, as he became Minister of Public Service, Elections and Boundaries.  Senator Godwin Hulse, always prepared with no less than three pens at his disposal, signed on the line to be the next Labour, Local Government, Rural Development and NEMO Minister. Minister of State in Finance and Economic Development Ministry, Santiago Castillo wrote his way to victory with a portfolio that places a special emphasis on Economic Development.  Minister of State Mark King has a daunting task to work with the Conscious Youth Development Programme and the Gang Truce Programme.  With fifteen ministers and six junior ministers, there are no backbenchers making it a full cabinet.   And despite new tasks, at Tuesday’s Press conference, the PM said there wouldn’t be salary adjustments for the ministers of state.

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“There will be no changes to salaries of the junior ministers although those of them that share house committees I believe we will get the House to look at some adjustment to assist there and that would include of course the chair of the public accounts committee who would be an opposition member. But salary no—no increase; no adjustment.”

The reshuffling of ministries also deprived some ministers of resources that would have been used to service and manage their constituencies.

The Prime Minister addressed the idea that venality and corrupt practices would not have a place in his government.

Dean Barrow

“The political bottom line need not be corrupt. Jules, it is a matter of balance in practice recognizing the realities of which you spoke. But also being determined that none of us ought to come loose from our moorings in terms of the requirement to, as far as is possible, maintain the public trust; as far as is possible not to abuse office; as far as is possible to be honest and accountable and open. I am perfectly satisfied that while it will not be a walk in the park we can and will do this.”

And the ceremony continued with the Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, Minister of Education, Patrick Faber and others being set to task for the next five years. The ministers of government exited the building and greeted their supporters. They and the Opposition will be present at the ceremonial opening of Parliament next Wednesday twenty-fourth of March. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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3 Responses for “Ministers Swear Oath and Set to Task”

  1. murphy says:

    come on sinners, repent or u shall perish!

  2. Charlie Price says:

    They should all work for MINIMUM WAGES …plus basic expenses.

  3. Eye In The Sky says:

    Me no undastand. HOW can someone who never run for office be sworn in as a minister. Why do we even have elections. Lets just vote red or blue with no names and when the winner is declared the party leader picks and chooses who he wants. This is happening already and we can save a lot of campaign money and use it to fix the pothole in the streets.

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