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Jan 4, 2002

Shoman sworn in as Foreign Minister

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Newly appointed Senator Assad Shoman was this morning sworn in by the Governor General as Minister of Foreign Affairs. The appointment, announced several months ago, had to await the recent passage of a constitutional amendment expanding the size of the Senate. Shoman takes over the portfolio from Prime Minister Said Musa, who will retain the ministries of Finance, Foreign Trade and Economic Development. Since 1998, Shoman has served as Belize’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and ambassador to a number of other European countries. His job as top negotiator on the Guatemalan dispute has largely kept him away from his desk in London, leaving deputy Alexis Rosado in charge. Rosado, who viewers may recall hosted the infamous London party where a guest had a piece of his ear bitten off, is expected to be formally elevated to the High Commissioner post. For Shoman, this will not be his first time as a member of Cabinet. He was appointed as Senator in the 1974 to 1979 administration of Premier George Price where he served as Attorney General as well as Minister of State for International Relations. In 1979 he was elected to the House of Representatives from the Cayo North Constituency and was appointed Minister of Health, Housing and Co-operatives. While few observers doubt Shoman’s abilities as a diplomat, which have been demonstrated as far back as his tireless efforts toward the attainment of Belize’s Independence, his ability to work closely with Cabinet colleagues is less certain. Rumours in Belmopan have circulated that despite Shoman’s membership in Cabinet, he has opted to attend only those meetings relating to the Foreign Affairs portfolio. When we checked out the situation with Cabinet Secretary Bobby Leslie this afternoon, Leslie was unequivocal. “Members of Cabinet are expected to attend Cabinet meetings,” he said. “There are no exceptions.”


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