It’s now official – Peter David and Chester Humphrey have received their letters of appointments to serve in the Senate from Governor-General, Dame Cecile La Grenade.
The two expelled members of the main opposition party – the National Democratic Congress (NDC) – received their documents on Wednesday from Dame Cecile at a ceremony held at her residence at Point Salines in which she also administered the oaths of office to several government ministers.
David, a former Minister of Finance, and Humphrey the President-General of the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU), would take their oaths to serve in the Senate at the next meeting of the Upper House sometime next week.
About a month ago, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell announced a major Cabinet Reshuffle and indicated that the two expelled former Congress members were being included as part of reaching out to former opponents in a new political construct known as “Project Grenada”.
During Wednesday’s ceremony, Dame Cecile also handed out new instruments of appointments to a number of government ministers – Clarice Modeste-Curwen, Nickolas Steele, Yolande Bain-Horsford, Oliver Joseph and Alexandra Otway-Noel who were affected in the first Cabinet reshuffle to be undertaken by the ruling New National Party (NNP) government since winning the February 2013 general elections.
Modeste-Curwen (Minister of Health) and Steele (Minister of Foreign Affairs) are switching portfolios while Otway-Noel is relieved from the portfolio of Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation and now become a Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister.
The Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA) had written to Prime Minister Mitchell requesting that Otway-Noel not be shifted but it was not heeded and the job was given to Yolande Bain-Horsford who did not get a Ministerial portfolio after the elections.
Economic Development Minister, Oliver Joseph has had International Business added to his other portfolios – Trade, Planning and Co-operatives.
THE NEW TODAY spoke with some of the Ministers about their new portfolios.
The new Minister of Health said he knows the Health Ministry is one that is filled with many challenges but h plans to do the best he can to fulfill his duties.
“I see all of this as an opportunity to make a difference, to make an improvement, to make an impression in a Ministry as important as Health. I embrace this challenge, I do recognise it is a challenge – there is a lot of work to be done and I have already started since Monday,” Steele told this newspaper.
According to Minister Modeste-Curwen, she embraces this new challenge in the area of Foreign Affairs.
“I look forward to it with pleasure and I know that I am not alone in it. I expect great successes in that area”, she said.
The female MP for St. Mark’s pointed out that in the past week, she and her predecessor have been engaged in a lot of communication about the work to be done.
“We’ve been communicating on certain important matters that are in the pipeline that need to be followed up with the same measure of intensity that they were being followed up on. He (Steele) has been sharing certain things with me and I’ve been sharing with him,” she remarked.
Bain-Horsford was asked how she feels about taking up the Tourism portfolio in light of the position adopted by the hoteliers in support of Otway-Noel.
“I do not feel so bad about it actually”, said the new Cabinet entrant who is also the Member of Parliament for St. Andrew South-west.
“In any business, in any department, in any industry you must develop relationships with your people and I believe they had a relationship with Alex that they developed. Alex with her bubbly nature and her love for that area would’ve worked well along with them. I don’t feel anyhow about it. I am looking forward to building relationships with them now and continuing where she left off,” she added.
THE NEW TODAY also spoke to Prime Minister Mitchell on the rationale for including both David and Humphrey as members of the Government Side in the Senate.
He said after the NNP victory at the polls in 2013, he recognized that there was a lot of work to be done and decided to engage Humphrey and the Trade Union Council to help get the job done.
“…You haven’t seen any appointment of Madonna Harford (TUC President), you’ve seen Chester, not that she has not played a role, she has played a role because she has given a lot of advice, even when some of the advice are critical in terms of any action of Government”, he told THE NEW TODAY.
“… I think people play different roles and I think Peter said some time ago, you don’t have to be a member of the NNP to make a contribution to the country… you could still support your political party but also when there is something of national interest which is good for the country you ought to come forward,” he said.