Minister of Public Health Dr. George Norton this morning confirmed that he will be taking up the position of the Minister of Social Cohesion and that he will be replaced by the Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence.
Minister of Social Cohesion Amna Ally is expected to be appointed Minister of Social Protection.
“Yes I am going to Social Cohesion”, Dr. Norton said when contacted today.
Dr Norton has come under severe criticism in the past few months especially as it relates to his ministry’s renting of a building from businessman Larry Singh to house pharmaceuticals even though the bond had not been competed at the time. Up to recently the bond has still not been properly utilised.
Last month during the consideration of the 2017 budget estimates it was found that no tablet was being stored there even though the minister had stated that the bond was single-sourced because of an urgent need. Many of the cold storage facilities were also empty.
The Minister today said that even though his strength lies in the health sector where he would have spent 28 years he would be taking up his new appointment and putting his best foot forward.
“I will be taking up the appointment,” he said, when asked the question, adding that he has been a “political animal” for many years and wherever the party [he is the vice-chairman of the PNCR] needs him he would function.
“My modus operandi is always to do my best that is what I did at the Ministry of Public Health in spite of the treatment by the media that only helped me to be stronger…”, he said.
Asked if he sees his re-assignment as a demotion the minister said “One can look at it from two ways moving from a Ministry with a 23 billion budget to one with a nine million one (one) can hardly view that as a promotion.”