JAMAICA-POLITICS-Opposition Leader dismisses Cabinet re-shuffle

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Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips says he is not surprised at the inclusion of Dr. Nigel Clarke in the government following the Cabinet re-shuffle announced by Prime Minister on Monday.
Clarke replaces Audley Shaw as Finance Minister, with the latter having been reassigned to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.
Supporting Clarke, will be Fayval Williams, who is the minister without portfolio in the Finance Ministry.
Clarke’s appointment to the Cabinet comes three weeks after he won a by-election in the constituency of St. Andrew North West.
“He has led the government discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He has been head of delegation to the IMF is I am not mistaken since the start of this administration, so in a sense the formal appointment of Dr, Clarke as Minister of Finance simply formalises what has been a de facto exercise of control in many aspects of the ministry,” Phillips told the RJR radio.
Political commentator Martin Henry has described the Cabinet re-shuffle as a major public-relations exercise.
“The public expectation to which the prime minister has played that he is revamping, refreshing and renewing government is as far as I can see a massive public-relations exercise,” Henry told the Jamaica Gleaner.
He said that apart from the appointment of Clarke Prime Minister Holness has reassigned certain players to different portfolios, but there is no fresh injection of new talent in the caucus of Cabinet ministers.
Phillips told radio listeners that he fears with the increase in the number of Cabinet and state ministers, it could lead to significant changes in the Parliament.
“If the Parliament is to function, certainly we need to ensure to ensure a role, particularly in the Committees of Parliament for the opposition, otherwise…what you have there really is executive government rather than parliamentary government proper,” he added.

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