St Kitts PM crosses party lines in choosing new Cabinet
BASSETERRE, St Kitts, February 8, 2010 – A new Cabinet that features a mix of familiar and fresh faces and crosses party lines, has been officially put in place in St Kitts and Nevis, two weeks after the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) won general elections. And Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas says his team of nine ministers will have a part to play in debt reduction during this fourth term in office.
The Nevis Reformation Party’s (NRP) only successful candidate in the January 25th poll, Patrice Nisbett, has been sworn in as Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs. Dr Dennis Merchant, who held that position in the last SKNLP administration, has been appointed General Counsel for the Federal government after declining to serve in his previous post because of dual citizenship issues.
Another new face in the Cabinet is Glenn Phillip, a first-time candidate who defeated the People’s Action Movement (PAM) leader Lindsay Grant. He is the new Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports, Information Technology, Telecommunications.
The two SKNLP candidates who lost their seats have not been left out. Dr Douglas said they would serve as special advisors: Cedric Liburd in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and Dr Norgen Wilson in the Ministry of National Security and Immigration.
The Prime Minister said the aim of his entire team will be to bring down the debt dramatically “so that we may divert a greater and greater proportion of our very limited resources from debt servicing to people-oriented development initiatives”.
“We will ensure there are even more frequent reports submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers on fiscal performance and debt management and that every project or initiative that comes to the Cabinet for approval is accompanied by a careful analysis of its cost and benefits, and its impact on the national debt in the short and in the long term,” he said at the swearing-in ceremony yesterday at the Warner Park Cricket Ceremony which was also attended by St Lucia’s Prime Minister Stephenson King.
Dr Douglas said the government would also be more vigilant in collecting outstanding revenues, controlling expenditure and securing fiscal surpluses on an ongoing basis.
“We will also examine and we shall reform the entire tax system with a view to ensuring that coverage of our tax system is much more comprehensive and the tax burden is shared in a much more equitable manner, while at the same time our low-income groups are afforded much greater protection,” he added.
The SKNLP holds six seats in the National Assembly, PAM won two but is challenging the election results, NPR took one, and the other party in Nevis – the Concerned Citizens Movement – has the other two.
Below is the full list of ministers and their portfolios:
Dr Denzil Douglas – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Sustainable Development and Human Resource Development
Sam Condor – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Foreign Affairs, Labour, Immigration and Social Security
Dr Timothy Harris – Minister of International Trade, Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, Marine Resources, Consumer Affairs and Constituency Empowerment
Dr Earl Asim Martin – Minister of Energy, Public Works and Utilities
Patrice Nisbett – Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs
Marcella Liburd – Minister of Health, Social Services, Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs
Glen Phillip – Minister of Sports, Youth Empowerment, Information Technology, and Telecommunications
Senator Nigel Carty – Minister of Education and Information
Senator Richard Skerritt – Minister of Tourism and International Transport