Friday, Dec 6, 2019
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Minnis suggests background irrelevant to Cabinet posts

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said on Saturday that a person’s background has no particular bearing on his or her ability to perform well as minister in a particular ministry.

“What background I had before I became prime minister?” asked Minnis, who was responding to questions concerning Lanisha Rolle, the new minister of youth, sports and culture, and whether she has a background in line with her new portfolio.

“It’s the same thing. What background, what training? Give me the book to read. I haven’t seen it yet.”

Referring to the nation’s former prime ministers, he added, “Ingraham did not leave it; Pindling didn’t leave it, nor did Christie.”

Minnis spoke at a press conference at Lynden Pindling International Airport after returning from the CARICOM heads of government meeting in Jamaica on Saturday.

In addition to Rolle, the prime minister reassigned Marco City MP Michael Pintard, Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells and Southern Shores MP Frankie Campbell.

Pintard, the former minister of youth, sports and culture, was named the new minister of agriculture and marine resources.

Both Rolle and Pintard have declined requests for comment on the reassignment.

Wells was reassigned from the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources to the Ministry of Transport and Local Government, while Campbell was reassigned from the Ministry of Transport and Local Government to the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development.

Minnis was also asked whether he was concerned whether progress in those ministries could be impacted by the changes.

“No, no, no. You must remember, there is a Cabinet team,” he said. “It is a team. Even though an individual is minister or prime minister, things are discussed. They are discussed [and] decisions are made, so no.”

Pressed on the reasons for the Cabinet shuffle, Minnis did offer an explanation.

“Individuals are moved and they become knowledgeable in certain things,” he said. “There is no so-called pre-training before you engage in a post. You learn and you become very good. I was not pre-trained nor attended any courses to become prime minister. Jeffrey Lloyd did not attend any courses or was pre-trained to become minister of education, nor was [Darren] Henfield (minister of foreign affairs).

“You go in, you read, you understand, and in many instances you become better than who was there. Sometimes you are not.”

Minnis insisted last week the moves do not indicate a loss of confidence in his Cabinet.

“I have not lost faith in any Cabinet minister,” the prime minister said.

Several permanent secretaries were also reassigned.

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