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Wells named minister of health

Rewnard Wells will be sworn in today as the new minister of health, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced yesterday.

His appointment comes more than two months after Dr. Duane Sands resigned as minister of health.

During a national address, Minnis said, “Renward Wells is a doer, who knows how to get things done.

“During my recent tenure as minister of health, I consolidated and brought forward a healthcare infrastructure program to upgrade the country’s health infrastructure, which I detailed during the recent debate on the 2020/2021 national budget.

“This includes upgrades to the Princess Margaret Hospital, clinics throughout the country and planning for a new Rand Memorial Hospital. While the medical officials continue to lead the charge in the battle against COVID-19, I have instructed Minister Wells to move aggressively to upgrade our healthcare infrastructure.”

The prime minister said Wells, who served as minister of transport and local government, will be charged with working with public health officials on boosting immunizations and vaccinations for various childhood diseases “some of which have lagged during the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Minnis said Wells will also work with public health officials to improve readiness for a variety of public health threats, including potential pandemics.

Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes will assume Wells’ transport and local government portfolio, Minnis said.

“Minister Foulkes has extensive Cabinet experience,” he said.

“He has provided me with wise counsel on many matters.”

Bains and Grants Town MP Travis Robinson will be reinstated as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation effective today, according to Minnis.

Robinson served in the position before being fired by the prime minister in June 2018, after voting against the government’s bill to increase value-added tax (VAT) from 7.5 percent to 12 percent.

All three men will be sworn in at Government House today.

Wells entered politics through the now-defunct National Democratic Party.

He was elected as a Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) MP in 2012, but cut ties with the party after he became entangled in a controversy involving the signing of a letter of intent for a waste-to-energy project at the New Providence landfill.

Wells joined the Free National Movement (FNM) in 2015 and won the Bamboo Town seat again in 2017.

After that election, he was appointed to the Minnis Cabinet as minister of agriculture and marine resources.

Minnis reshuffled his Cabinet in early-July 2018 and Wells was appointed minister of transport and local government.

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