President Donald’s new Cabinet has been a revelation. He has shocked some of us into silence. It’s being said that the new Prezzie’s Cabinet resembles warmed up soup with a few freshish vegetables thrown in to add new flavour……still, old soup is old soup, anyway.
Everybody thought President Donald would use his Cabinet selectees to signal the start of something new. But in fairness to the man he did send a number of clear signals before the elections that he was not about to put Mr. Jagdeo’s people out to pasture……at least not just yet. OK……some of them had to go. Baksh had a poor report card! Nadir……well, he was living on borrowed time anyway and Manniram’s Cabinet post was widely regarded as a big favour from a good friend………But little else has changed. If there is any change that jumps out and kicks you in the face it’s the Bishop’s appointment. Junior Minister of Finance! What a shock! As the Jamaicans would say………”but mih lawd, God?” We demand to see the Bishop’s CV to see what qualified him for the post! Or does it have something to do with the fact that he tried to get Jesus to vote for the PPP/C. Say what you like about the Bishop he has obviously decided that whatever treasures might be stored up in heaven, he prefers those that are available right here in the Republic under the PPP/C. Rumour has it that he has already gotten a coldish reception from some of the staff at the Finance Ministry.
Robert Persaud gets the big kick upstairs. He now controls minerals and has taken Forestry with him. The rest of the Agriculture Ministry, crops and livestock and running around the country fixing things to do with drainage and irrigation and pest control have gone to Leslie Ramsammy. Mind you, Leslie is no spring chicken. He certainly cannot be expected to do the kind of running around that Robert did. Well! At least he has a Vice Minister. A rather faceless Bheri Ramsaran takes control of the Health Ministry.
With Robert now in control of the mining industry it would appear that both the Prime Minister and Robeson Benn have had their portfolios somewhat watered down. Both men have made noises about mining and the environment under the previous dispensation. We’ll hear less from them on those issues now. For Robeson’s part at least he remains in charge of knocking down illegal structures. As far as Uncle Sam is concerned it very much appears as though we may have arrived at the stage of a ceremonial Prime Minister. Not a problem, though. There will be plenty of cocktails to attend and speeches to be made at one seminar or another.
Priya gets Education. Baksh is out. No surprises there. We know of a few people who might well be dancing on the Shaik’s political grave. Genevieve Whyte-Nedd? Lloyd Austin of Austin’s Bookstore? Poor Mr. Austin stopped short of sinning his soul to try to get Baksh to investigate allegations that the Education Ministry was in cahoots with pirates who print text books illegally. Baksh promised but that was about all he did.
In a sense Priya gets a straight swap……from managing the distribution of pension books to old people to overseeing the sharing out of exercise books to school children. Priya has to be relieved. After all, there will, hopefully, be less of a temptation for people to steal exercise books than pension books……but then you never know.
Doctor Jennifer stays! Jennifer goes to Human Resources. The latter now has her own Ministry. One always thought of her as a sort of extra Minister, someone you just had to find a place for. She’s a real Minister now and perhaps herself and Priya will have a sit down to talk about things like pension book distribution and violence against women and how to get more men to pay up their child support.
You wouldn’t have thought that there was any place else they could put Clement Rohee. Foreign Affairs was a ‘no no.’ The history of his tenure at Takuba Lodge has now become part of the country’s political folklore. Rohee is a senior man in the PPP setup. He tried for the presidency and now it appears that his time has come and gone. Still, he is a long-standing party man and his bullish countenance probably goes with the Ministry of the Police.
Nothing else really worth talking about………except, perhaps, to wonder about the political future of Dr. Frank Anthony. Frank, frankly, is pretty well thought of in some circles and some say he is a good deal smarter than some of his other comrades. You get the impression that his political career has been put on hold………sort of………but that, down the road, it might well be put on track again.
That’s it for President Donald’s new team except to say, of course, that, as these things go, sooner or later time might run out for Mr. Jagdeo’s people who have survived the transition and one day Donald might wake up at State House and decide that it’s time to have a team of his own.