Cabinet changes in the making

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has announced that another Cabinet reshuffle is in the making.

Mike Sylvester – earmarked to take over as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance

Mike Sylvester – earmarked to take over as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance

In a radio and television address last week Tuesday night, Dr. Mitchell informed the nation that changes will be made to the Cabinet line-up in the first quarter of 2016.

The Prime Minister who was making his first address to the nation for the new year said that as his government moves into the final half of the current term of its administration, “we are also looking closely at making some Executive adjustments by the end of the first quarter.”

The move, he said is being made to further fine tune the workings of government, to offer people different experiences, and to allow some ministers more time for deeper interaction with their constituents.

Political observers view this announcement that PM Mitchell is putting plans in place for an early poll.

Sources close to the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration have said that a poll conducted by Barbadian pollster Peter Wickham is predicting another clean sweep of all 15 seats for the

Wickham’s poll is reportedly making the prediction despite the harsh austerity measures imposed by the near 3-year old regime.

In his near 25-minute address, Prime Minister Mitchell said his government will seek to further fine-tune its operations for greater efficiency and better delivery.

He said the process has already begun in the Ministry of Finance since it was brought on, in part, by the pending departure of long-standing Permanent Secretary, Timothy Antoine who is due to take up the position of Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank from February 1.

In his capacity as Minister of Finance, Dr. Mitchell announced that a recommendation has been put forward to the Public Service Commission (PSC) to have Deputy Permanent Secretary Mike Sylvester appointed to act in the position of Permanent Secretary.

“We have every confidence that Mr. Sylvester who has been an integral part of the team that has guided the Ministry (of Finance) in recent years is a fitting replacement,” Dr. Mitchell told the nation.

He disclosed that several internal promotions will also take place in the Ministry of Finance.

He said Kim Frederick who is the Chief Budget Officer has been recommended to the PSC to become Deputy Permanent Secretary, and Budget Officer, Kerry Pierre has been recommended to hold the post of Acting Chief Budget Officer.

The Prime Minister praised the three-year Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), which is into its final year.

He spoke of SAP beginning to bear fruits through the sacrifice made by the people.

Dr. Mitchell said his government has been able to lay a solid foundation for a more secure economic future.

He said the country enters the New Year with new hope and fresh expectations, ready to build on three years of economic growth.

“Coming out of our performance last year, a more than five percent economic growth, the strongest in the Eastern Caribbean and one of the strongest in the entire Americas, and the creation of more than 3,000 new jobs, there is every reason to be optimistic,” he said.

The Prime Minister also made some passing comments on Constitution Reform, which is expected to take place by the first quarter of this year through a referendum.

He said the consultancy process is ongoing, “and Grenadians will soon have to vote on measures put forward by the wider society that its authors (Dr. Francis Alexis and his Committee) have argued will bring deeper meaning to our Grenadianess.”

Six Bills to support changes to the constitution have already had their first reading in the Lower House of Parliament.

Grenada will also forge ahead in having a national health plan in place.

Dr. Mitchell said his government is determined to complete the framework for the establishment of a National Health Insurance Scheme.

He said Cabinet has accepted the recommendations put forward by an advisory committee chaired by President of the Senate, Chester Humphrey, adding that draft legislations and engagement of a health actuary is now under consideration.

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