President David Granger in minor re-shuffle of his cabinet

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jan 3, CMC – President David Granger has implemented a second re-shuffling of his near two-year-old administration, removing Public health Minister Dr George Norton and replacing him with the Minister of Social Protection Volda Lawrence, the state-owned Guyana Chronicle newspaper reported Tuesday.
It said that Granger, who will make the official announcement at a Cabinet meeting scheduled for later on Tuesday, has made Norton, the new Minister of Social Cohesion, while  Amna Ally takes over at the Ministry of Social Protection.
Political observers say Norton removal is a demotion and the second Cabinet re-shuffle comes as a surprise given that Granger had said in September that he saw no need at that time for a reshuffling of his Cabinet.
He had accepted then that errors were made by members of his Cabinet, but noted that none amounted to criminality.
“Every Government makes errors, and we just want to ensure we make fewer and fewer errors as we go along. But we have learnt a lot over the last 15 months,” the President had said then, adding that the changes made in 2016 were designed to improve Cabinet’s performance.
The President created the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, headed by former Minister of Tourism Cathy Hughes. He also merged the Ministry of Tourism with the Ministry of Business, and placed same under the control of Minister Dominic Gaskin.
The newspaper reported that Granger deemed it necessary to remove Norton from the Ministry of Public Health where he served as the senior minister since the coalition Government took office in May 2015.
The paper quoted a source as saying that the President believes that the Minister of Public Health was unable to focus on his mandate.
“Over the past six months, Dr. Norton has been in the hot seat with several allegations being levelled against him; chief among them being what has been described as the poor handling of the country’s drug-procurement system,” the Guyana Chronicle newspaper reported.
The Guyana-based online publication NEWS SOURCE reported that Norton found himself “in more hot water in December during the budget debates when an impromptu tour of the bond revealed that while medical supplies were being stored at the location, there was no storage of medicines or tablets”.
NEWS SOURCE also reported that there are likely to be changes regarding permanent secretaries.

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