Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has announced the appointment of Sen. Brenda Hood as the full Minister of Culture, taking away the portfolio from Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Alexandra Otway-Noel.
During a post-Cabinet Press Briefing held at the Ministerial Complex on Tuesday, the Prime Minister told reporters that the decision is based primarily on the fact that culture is an issue that is really important and ties in a lot with development and with the promotion of the country and he wanted someone at the helm to give it full responsibility.
The move has not come as a surprise to many with some insiders in the government pointing to some tension between Dr. Mitchell and Otway-Noel in recent months.
A knowledgeable source told THE NEW TODAY that Prime Minister Mitchell has been trying to use the lack of State funds to curtail some of the overseas travel of the Tourism Minister.
However, the source said that Otway-Noel has been making alternative arrangements to accommodate her travel on Tourism-related business including the use of some of her own personal funds.
Shortly after taking office following the February 2013 general elections, the Mitchell administration announced that as part of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), it was going to cut back on the number of Ministries.
In addressing the press briefing, Prime Minister Mitchell told reporters that the creation of an additional ministry would not have any effect on the public purse.
“In making the decision I was clear that I wanted no additional cost to the Tax Payers, in fact, I sought the legal advice to make sure what I was doing was ok constitutionally,” he said.
According to the Grenadian leader, there would not be a need for an additional Permanent Secretary to be appointed to supervise that Ministry.
“As you know, PS at this point supervises more than one Division in government, so the same PS can be and if another PS is added it has to be one that already is a PS so it will not cost the taxpayers one cent and no additional personnel will be required,” he said.
Dr. Mitchell did not indicate whether Sen. Hood would continue to be paid the salary of a Parliamentary Secretary or upgraded to the salary currently paid to a full-fledged Cabinet Minister.