PM urges state ministers to push policy on the ground

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

THE final set of ministers were yesterday sworn in at King's House in St Andrew, completing the installation of the new Andrew Holness-led Government ahead of today's opening of Parliament.

In his remarks at the swearing-in ceremony for the state ministers, Prime Minister Holness pointed out that their job is a difficult one, and urged them to promote policy on the ground.

He said that while Cabinet ministers drive and direct policy at the level of the executive, they also need support from the ground up from state ministers, to allow those policies to take root among the citizenry.

“There is still much room for you as a minister to help in the development of policy, administration and also in advocacy,” he stressed, noting that policy should be explained and championed and that this is an important role for state ministers.

“You have great room and you also have great responsibility,” he stated.

Sir Patrick, in his charge to the nine state ministers, urged them to be guided by honesty and excellence, and to “think carefully about the legacy that you want to leave behind as a public servant”.

He noted that the ministers were taking office at a time when Jamaica is experiencing a watershed moment in its history, facing challenges in public health, social services and the economy.

The state ministers who were sworn in are: Marsha Smith, finance and the public service portfolio; Senator Leslie Campbell, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Juliet Cuthbert Flynn, health and wellness portfolio; Homer Davis, local government and rural development portfolio; Alando Terrelonge, Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport; J C Hutchinson, Ministry of Transport and Mining; Robert Morgan, Ministry of Education, Youth and Information; Zavia Mayne, labour and social security portfolio; and Dr Norman Dunn, Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.

On Sunday 14, Cabinet ministers were sworn in at King's House, with a charge from the prime minister to stay in line with the expectations of the electorate.

He said not all ministers would be experts in their portfolio, but that it was more important that ministers act with integrity and efficiency.

The newly minted ministers, senators and Opposition Members of Parliament will be sworn in at Parliament today, at the opening of the new session at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston. The ceremony is being held at the conference centre to facilitate physical distancing in keeping with safety guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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