Tuesday 10 December, 2019

Many changes to, and omissions from, PNP shadow cabinet

Dr Peter Phillips

Dr Peter Phillips

There are no places in Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips’ 20-member shadow cabinet for a number of members of the outgoing spokesperson council, including Dr Dayton Campbell, Ian Hayles and Dr Angela Brown Burke, who all sided with Peter Bunting, in the bruising presidential race that recently threatened to split the People’s National Party (PNP).

Immediately following the presidential election, there was speculation about who would be retained and who would be sacked from the shadow cabinet.

However, Bunting, who lost to Dr Peter Phillips by 76 votes in the special delegates' conference on September 7, has been retained in the council of spokespersons - but with a new portfolio assignment. He is now the spokesman on education and training.

Bunting, a well-established businessman and financial manager, previously shadowed Industry, Commerce and Competitiveness.

Campbell, the Member of Parliament (MP) for North West St Ann, was previously the spokesman on Health. He was the campaign manager for Bunting, and an outspoken critic of Phillips on the campaign trail.

Brown Burke, the MP for South West St Andrew, was named as Bunting’s campaign director. She previously shadowed the local government portfolio which has been given to Phillips’ campaign manager, Natalie Neita.

The MP for Western Hanover, Ian Hayles, who was the party spokesman for water and climate change, was also an outspoken critic of Phillips during the presidential election campaign.

Apart from Bunting, two senior party men who supported him have been retained in the shadow cabinet. They are South St Andrew MP, Mark Golding, who will continue as the Spokesman on Finance and the Public Service, and Eastern St Thomas MP, Dr Fenton Ferguson, who previously shadowed the Agriculture portfolio, but has now been given responsibility for Water, Environment and Climate Change.

Phillips’ shadow cabinet has 20 shadow ministers, plus an additional six persons who will shadow parts of some of the same portfolios for which the senior spokespersons have overall responsibility.

A statement from the PNP on Thursday announcing the appointment of the shadow cabinet did not specify whether those individuals are deputy spokespersons.

"The new arrangements involve some of the new candidates who are not members of Parliament, providing them with an opportunity to get policy development experience and strengthen political advocacy," said the statement quoting Phillips.

“A basic consideration guiding the selection of the new shadow cabinet was not to include persons who would not be candidates in the next general elections. Another consideration was to enable younger parliamentarians to gain experience."

He explained that in keeping with the principle of broadening experience, the opportunity has been taken to appoint some new candidates as political portfolio support.

There are 12 such appointments.

“They will work closely with portfolio shadow ministers and their task forces, while sharing their professional skills, and assist in engaging various stakeholder groups throughout the country,” Phillips stated.

The Opposition leader appointed lecturer in economics at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and candidate for West Central St James, Dr Andre Haughton, a Senator, to oversee the Planning and Development portfolio, which remains in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition.

Phillips will also be responsible for Defence.

The Opposition leader also announced that Dr Morais Guy, MP for Central St Mary, will be the new Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives, and Dwayne Vaz, MP for Central Westmoreland, the deputy leader.

The previous People's National Party (PNP) shadow cabinet under the leadership of Dr Peter Phillips.

“These changes are consequent on the assignment of Mr Phillip Paulwell, MP, and Ms Natalie Neita, who have assumed national campaign responsibilities as the PNP prepares for general elections, due in 16 months,” said Phillips.

He said the Ministry of Social Transformation, Community Development and Culture, to which Damion Crawford has been assigned, is geared at developing new approaches to achieve far-reaching cultural and social changes that are required to restore harmony among families and communities.

Phillips also announced the appointment of former Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Education, Elaine Foster-Allen, as the new Shadow Cabinet Secretary.

Apart from being Opposition Leader, Phillips is also responsible for Planning, Development and Defence.

Fitz Jackson will continue to shadow National Security, and Lisa Hanna will continue to speak on matters relating to foreign affairs and foreign trade.

The shadow cabinet is rounded out as follows:

  • Planning, Development and Defence – Dr Peter Phillips
  • Finance and the Public Service – Mark Golding
  • National Security – Fitz Jackson
  • Justice and Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate – Senator Donna Scott-Mottley.
  • Teacher Development and Stakeholder relations – Michael Stewart
  • Public Service – Senator Lambert Brown
  • Planning and Development – Senator Dr Andre Haughton
  • Health and Wellness and Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives – Dr Morais Guy
  • Industry, Competitiveness and Global Logistics – Anthony Hylton
  • Tourism – Dr Wykeham McNeill
  • Transport and Works – Mikhail Phillips
  • Labour, Social Security and Special Abilities – Horace Dalley
  • Social Security and Special Abilities – Dr Floyd Morris
  • Mining and Energy – Phillip Paulwell
  • Science, Technology and Information – Julian Robinson
  • Land and Housing – Senator Sophia Fraser Binns
  • Agriculture and Rural Development – Victor Wright
  • Social Transformation, Community Development and Culture – Senator Damion Crawford
  • Youth, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sports – Denise Daley
  • Youth and Entertainment and Deputy Leader of Opposition Business in the House – Dwayne Vaz.

“The new team includes a number of fresh faces who will shadow existing Government ministries and engage the country in the PNP’s new policy solutions prior to the next general elections,” the statement said.

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