New junior ministers ready to serve

New junior ministers ready to serve

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Three newly appointed ministers of state who will be serving in that capacity for the first time, have declared their readiness to undertake their duties.

They are Marsha Smith, who has been appointed to the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service; Homer Davis, Local Government and Rural Development; and Dr Norman Dunn, who will serve in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.

The three are among nine junior ministers who were sworn into office during a ceremony at King's House on Monday.

Smith, who is a first-time Member of Parliament, having successfully contested the St Ann North East constituency in the September 3 general election, sees her role as supporting portfolio minister, Dr Nigel Clarke, in ensuring that the Finance and Planning Ministry's policies and directives are implemented.

“I'm particularly interested in the public service. I come to the ministry having spent three years at the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) and so there is some familiarity with the public service and general employment issues,” she said.

Smith said that the professional experience garnered as an attorney-at-law in a practice she describes as “very diverse”, and from her stint with the IDT, “has prepared me for this role [of minister of state]”.

“I [feel] honoured being named among the nine persons selected to be state ministers,” she added.

Meanwhile, Davis said he is pleased to have the opportunity to work alongside Desmond McKenzie to advance local governance and rural development.

Also, a first-time MP, representing St James Southern, Davis said that his 13-year stint as a councillor in the St James Municipal Corporation, the last four of which was Mayor of Montego Bay, has prepared him for his new assignment.

“It would have made me a better person in terms of my appreciation for what needs to be done, as it relates to rural development [and] has given me that launching pad,” he noted.

Davis said he is pleased with Prime Minister Andrew Holness' focus on rural development.

“I'm very happy. If we don't correct the rural-urban drift, then our urban centres will become overly populated and the infrastructure will not be able to [serve] the population,” he pointed out.

“So, with my new responsibility, just talking to the Minister, we will work out a road map of how we can bring back some of these rural townships to [the glory of] their former years,” he added.

Davis said he anticipates being able to play an integral role in improving parochial roads, and enhancing access to water and broadband/Internet connectivity.

Dunn, for his part, said commerce is a “real area of interest of mine”.

The Member of Parliament for St Mary South Eastern said he anticipates working with Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister Audley Shaw to advance work under the portfolio.

“Commerce drives economies generally and therefore much emphasis, I believe, will be placed on this particular area. I've been involved in commerce for basically all my life and therefore, there are a number of ideas that I will take to and discuss with the minister,” he said.

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