PM names Charles Jr as second Cabinet minister in SenateTuesday, March 26, 2019
GOVERNMENT Senator Pearnel Charles Jr has been promoted to the Cabinet to help take on the country's huge housing and infrastructure challenges at the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC).
Charles, who turns 41 in September, was initially appointed minister of state in the Ministry of National Security after the Jamaica Labour Party returned to Government in 2016. He was shifted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade with responsibility for Diaspora Affairs in March 2018.
A release from Jamaica House yesterday said that Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced his “immediate” appointment as minister without portfolio in the MEGJC. Holness requested Governor General Sir Patrick Allen to make the appointment in accordance with the provisions of Section 77(1) of the Jamaican Constitution and pursuant to section 70(1) with effect from yesterday, March 25. The provision constitutionally requires that the Senate consists of not less than two and not more that four Cabinet ministers.
Charles Jr's tasks are expected to include the new Social Housing Programme, which will replace the Government of Jamaica/Food For the Poor (FFP) programme.
Holness told the House of Representatives last Tuesday that the programme is in line with the policy objectives of the Government, and falls within the framework of Vision 2030.
It is expected to enhance the impact of the Zones of Special Operations in targeted communities, where the upgrade of housing infrastructure has been identified as one of the interventions required to address the social issues. It also involves the relocation of vulnerable or small communities that are not yet well |established, and are located in areas unsuitable for residential development and vulnerable to natural disasters, as well as upgrading of tenements or 'big yards'.
The Social Housing Programme will be administered by the MEGJC under the housing component of the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment Programme.
Charles was born in New York City on September 25, 1978, shortly after his father, Pearnel Patroe Charles Sr, the current speaker of the House of Representatives, was released from detention at Up Park Camp under the 1976 state of emergency and went to the United States for a period of time. However, the younger Charles came home to be schooled locally, attending Campion College and The University of the West Indies, where he was president of the Guild of Students, and later George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC, where he attained a Master of Laws degree.
Yesterday's release from Jamaica House also noted that another MEGJC minister without portfolio, Karl Samuda, has been temporarily assigned to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. Samuda is now conducting an administrative review of that ministry.
Prime Minister Holness will maintain oversight of the education, youth and information portfolios as the administrative and governance review continues, the release said.
— Balford Henry