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Feb 11, 2008

Barrow names 16 member Cabinet

Story PictureIt is the body essentially responsible for running the country … and today Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced the composition of his sixteen man Cabinet. As expected, due to the large size of his party’s majority, every minister comes from the House of Representatives and none from the Senate. With a relatively untested field of twenty-five to choose from, Prime Minister Dean Barrow had to make some tough decisions.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“What I say now is what I will always say, what I say now is what I will always remember, what I say now is what I will always bear in mind. Ultimately this victory is a victory for the people of Belize.”

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
And to do the people’s work, Prime Minister Dean Barrow will assume the duties of the Minister of Finance;
Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega is Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment
Erwin Contreras is Minister of Economic Development, Commerce, Industry and Consumer Protection
Carlos Perdomo is Minister of National Security
Patrick Faber is Minister of Education
Anthony “Boots” Martinez is Minister of Works
Pablo Marin is Minister of Health
The new Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is Wilfred Elrington
Gabriel Martinez is the Minister of Labour, Local Government and Rural Development
Melvin Hulse is in charge of Public Utilities, NEMO, Transport and Communications
Eden Martinez is Minister of Human Development and Social Transformation
Marcel Cardona is the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture
John Saldivar is Minister of Public Service, Governance Improvement and Elections and Boundaries
Manuel Heredia is Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation
Agriculture and Fisheries is being headed up by Rene Montero
And Michael Finnegan is the new Minister of Housing and Urban Development

Dr. Carla Barnett will return to Belmopan as a financial advisor while former Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel has been appointed senior advisor to the Government with Ministerial rank.

There are five Ministers of State:

Michael Hutchinson is Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour, Local Government and Rural Development
Elvin Penner is will serve in the Ministry of Natural Resources
Edmond Castro will assist Boots Martinez in Works
Arturo Roches is Minister of State in Health and
Juan Coy is Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development

Turning to C.E.O.s, those already appointed include:

Audrey Wallace as Chief Executive Officer in the Prime Minister’s Office
James Murphy is Cabinet Secretary
David Gibson is the interim C.E.O. in the Ministry of Natural Resources
Charmaine Hyde is the C.E.O. in the Ministry of Economic Development
Charles Gibson will work with John Saldivar in the Minister of Public Service
Joseph Waight will stay on as Financial Secretary
Cadet Henderson becomes C.E.O. in Works;
David Leacock is the new C.E.O. in Education
Marion McNab is the C.E.O. in Labour
And Peter Allen takes over as C.E.O. in Health

Of the six government Senators, four have been named:

Doug Singh is Leader of Government Business aided by
Juliet Thimbrel
Dr. Debbie McMillan and
Pulcheria Teul.

The new Speaker of the House of Representatives is attorney Emil Arguelles and Nestor Vasquez will implement Barrow’s promise to allow the public to buy into Government’s ten percent share of the Spanish Lookout oil field. Other appointments are expected to be decided tomorrow after the new cabinet is officially sworn in but according to Barrow all decisions will be collectively agreed to.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“I’ve proposed and the entire cabinet has agreed that the community vote will be given to each elected representative, be he P.U.P. or U.D.P. We’re doing these all things jointly as a cabinet. I’m insisting that no Minister makes any appointment without first coming to cabinet. Not even to the post of drain sweeper, this must be done collectively. The Deputy Prime Minister’s ministry will award no lease or sale of land in excess of ten acres without coming to cabinet.”

But the list of priorities waiting for the new administration in Belmopan is substantial.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“The financial secretary informs me that twenty-nine or thirty nine million dollars becomes due next week as interest payment on the super bond. That’s one of the first things to tackle…where we are with the finances of this country, what we will do to try to put those finances in order, what we will do to make up the revenue shortfalls that we will experience as a result of our resolution to do immediately, the things we need to do to have the effect of lowering the cost of living and lowering the price of fuel at the pump.”

“We must reach out to people and to individuals that supported the P.U.P., we must say the elections are over, we are all Belizeans, let us join hands and work together. However, however, that limited number of persons that continued to make off with our resources in the teeth of tremendous opposition in the tremendous outcry on the part of the people of this country cannot be allowed to get away with it. And nowhere did that happen more blatantly than in the lands department. The Deputy Prime Minister, the new C.E.O., the officials there that are people of conscience will have a job to do in terms of compiling a register of the most flagrant instances of the corruption that took place especially in the last days and will proceed thereafter to where anything was on the face of it wrong and we have the legal means to do so, revoke leases and licenses and where title has been given to compulsorily acquire properties that these people had no right to obtain. We will in a word, and dare I say it, proceed to “quitar”.”

“We are talking about the big fish, I don’t want to be engaging in any name calling today but we also all know who they are, those are the people that we are dealing with. If while we are trying to get the fiscal situation under control, we move at once to do what is required with respect to the reform agenda, I think that also will buy us additional good will so I am comfortable sir, that we will be able to do a good job.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Janelle Chanona.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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