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The PNP’s Reshuffle : Not Novel but Workable

The Opposition Leader today unveiled an 18 member council of spokespersons with portfolio responsibilities, she claimed, necessary to confront the challenges faced by the country.

While the list of spokespersons is not as young and fresh as we would have hoped, the party leader has made some necessary and welcomed re assignments. I have long called for the Finance portfolio to be taken from Dr. Davies in light of his dismal performance in that capacity for some 13 years. Mrs. Simpson Miller has assigned the Finance portfolio to Dr. Peter Phillips. This has no doubt caused some murmurings. Why not Mark Golding? Or Peter Bunting?

Well, the Constitution of Jamaica mandates that the Minister of Finance must be a member of the House of Representatives. While there is no such requirement for an opposition spokesperson, it’s perhaps wise to name the spokesperson from that chamber. Therefore, while Mark Golding might be renowned for business and finance, he is a member of the Senate, and therefore would not be eligible to hold the post of Finance Minister.

As for Bunting, he has done a fair job shadowing National Security and so I support allowing him to retain that responsibility. Dr. Phillips has been a fine opposition member of the house and brings to his new portfolio his academic knowledge of international economies, holding his PhD in international political economy, I believe. I expect that Dr. Phillips will press Minister Shaw in the house and may well restore some confidence in the PNP’s “moral authority” to speak on the economy, despite being a member of successive cabinets which approved the decisions of Davies.

Another welcomed addition is that of Central Kingston MP Ronnie Thwaites, who has been given responsibility to shadow Education. The attorney has been one of the most outstanding members of parliament, in my opinion, and will be able to elevate the discussions on the education sector; something Basil Waite was unable to do. Thwaites is rational and fair minded and I anticipate that he’ll be able to partner with Minister Holness, if necessary, to see to the implementation of proper policies.

I’m perturbed that Lisa Hanna has been stripped of Information and given only Youth and Culture. The party leader should allow Hanna, a holder of a Master’s degree in communication, and a young mind, to shadow information. Mrs. Simpson Miller, no offence to her, is better at Sports, Labour and Social Security and should have stuck to her strengths. Giving Hanna Youth and Culture is almost making her redundant, as these two are barely portfolios that should be left on their own. Still, I suspect that Hanna will advise Simpson Miller on Information, which makes her the brains behind the chair.

There have been concerns relating to the fact that the Opposition Leader has renamed mostly the same faces to the council, but one has to remember her constrains. She has to choose from a pool of 28 MPs and 8 senators. With that in mind, I believe she did her best to re assign those who had lost the confidence of the Jamaican people to speak on certain issues and brought in new faces to take their places. New faces in the sense that some of them have never been linked to these portfolios. Example, Mark Golding will shadow Justice.

I am also concerned with the over all size of the council. Mrs. Simpson Miller should be crafting a Cabinet in waiting, and with the financial constrains faced by the country, the party president should be doing her best to show that she would appoint a lean and trim Cabinet, perhaps the minimum 11 members required by the Constitution.

So yes, the new shadow cabinet is not novel; we see a lot of the same faces but in different shoes and therefore I believe it is workable. With both parties entering election mode, we can only hope this reshuffle will position the PNP to once again form Her Majesty’s Government.

[See The Full List of Spokespersons Here]


3 responses

  1. Kurai

    First,…I see you still love to just look at Lisa Hanna. But that aside, I dunno what potion Portia got up and drank that day. I agree with the President of the JMA that Peter Bunting, as we have also said many times, should be given is time in Finance and Planning. As far as Peter Phillips who i think is now being vilified for his proactive approach in forcing the GOJ into action of the Mannat/Coke fiasco, should have waltzed right back into His portfolio, for it is that which he has made his political name. Roger Clarke,….sigh…my poor ole fat farmer, but he has dropped a long way from my political graces,..seeing as he has NO credible accomplishments during his tenure as Agri Minister. But as you put Ricky, The Oppo leader had a very slim pool from which to choose from.

    And given the recent lamentations about the whole Finsac ordeal, i think it was more than wise to remove Omar at this time, for he would for sure be a walking bullseye and an eyesore to the party.

    Ps. Just read the article…after commenting as always I agree 100% with your take. But don’t worry Hanna will get her day!!!

    May 25, 2011 at 5:20 am

    • A little eye candy never hurt a soul! Lisa Hanna all the way! Seriously though, Dr. Phillips has been given the portfolio as a reward but also, I think Davies was moved to Transport and Works because of his recent pressure on Shaw and Henry regarding the JDIF project. It is a strategically smart move in that respect.
      I tried to avoid mentioning Roger Clarke as I cannot understand why he is still shadowing anything, let alone an MP. Lisa will get her day? Her day is now! Portia should have shown that she isn’t afraid to give the younger members a real chance. If anything, Lisa’s portfolio should have been expanded, but let’s wait and see.

      May 25, 2011 at 5:55 am

  2. Pingback: Cinnamon Coffee » Blog Archive » Just Jammin’ with Jamaican Bloggers

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