The three Members of Parliament who have not been assigned Ministerial portfolios in the new Government are likely to receive extra support to assist them in serving their constituencies, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has announced.
Yoland Bain-Horsford, Tobias Clement and Clifton Paul, described by the Prime Minister as stalwarts, were not named as Ministers of Government during Sunday’s swearing-in Ceremony at the National Stadium.
Bain-Horsford defeated Social Development Minister, Sylvester Quarless to win the St. Andrew South-west seat, Clement surprisingly defeated Finance Minister Nazim Burke to win in St. George North-east while Paul was the biggest winner in defeating Prime Minister Tillman Thomas (St. Patrick East).
Addressing thousands of supporters and well-wishers who came out to the ceremony at the National Stadium at Queen’s Park, Prime Minister Mitchell announced that plans are in the making to increase the Constituency allowance for the three Non-Cabinet members.
“The fact that our three colleagues will not be members of the Cabinet will not diminish their role or effectiveness as your Parliamentary Representatives. We appreciate that their Constituents will have special expectations of them, and we intend to empower them to be able to fulfill those expectations”, Dr. Mitchell said.
“They will be given the resources to do the job people have voted them for. In that regard, we are currently looking at a construct that will allow us to increase the Constituency allowance for the three Non-Cabinet members of our team”, he added.
The Prime Minister announced the formation of a special Cabinet sub-committee to brief the Non-Cabinet MPs weekly on all major decisions taken by Cabinet.
According to Dr. Mitchell, the Non-Cabinet MPs will be able to use the briefing to propose support services for their own Constituencies.
“While the Parliamentarians are comfortable with the thrust, we are aware that sometimes their own supporters make it difficult for them, by trying to imply that their MP might be marginalised,” the Grenadian Leader pointed out.
“We call on all of our supporters to understand what we are trying to do and what are our National commitments; as well as the limitations of all the structures within which we have to operate”, he told the gathering.
Prime Minister Mitchell said the decision to leave out the three MPs at this time was painful, but became easier since the three have proved themselves to be good team players.
“It was not easy to ask Sister Yoland Bain-Horsford, Brother Tobias Clement and Brother Clifton Paul to go to bat first on that team. It was not an easy one,” he remarked.
“But my friends they have been willing to put aside their own egos, curb their own ambitions, and prepared to fight perception, for the general good”, he remarked.
Given the clean sweep of all 15 parliamentary seats by NNP, the three Non-Cabinet Ministers will have to be considered for places like Deputy Speaker of the Houses of Representatives and for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which has to be comprised of Non-Cabinet members.