PM Skerrit names Cabinet following election victory
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on Saturday named a 16-member cabinet following his Dominica Labour Party (DLP) fourth consecutive victory in general elections on Monday.
Skerrit on Tuesday was sworn in as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
The ministers took the oath of office at a public ceremony before President Charles Savarin held at the Windsor Park Stadium in the capital and attended by St Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony, members of the diplomatic corps as well as supporters of the ruling party.
Prime Minister Skerrit named five women and several new comers to politics to his Cabinet and re-aligned many of the ministerial portfolios from the last administration. He named Francine Baron to the post of Foreign Affairs and CARICOM Affairs and Miriam Blanchard as the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Project Planning and Implementation.
The new cabinet includes a number of candidates who contested the election for the first time, including Dr Cassius Darroux, who was named Minister of Kalingo Affairs (Caribs) and Catherine Daniel, who was named Minister of Social Services, Family and Gender Affairs.
The former operations manager at the Waitukubuli National Trail Management Unit, Roselyn Paul has been named Minister of Commerce, Enterprise and Small Business Development.
Businessman Robert Tonge, who has been named a Senator, was sworn in as the new Minister of Tourism and Urban Renewal, while another new comer Kelver Darroux was named Minister of Information, Science, Telecommunications and Technology.
Justina Charles, the wife of the late former prime minister Pierre Charles, returned to the new Cabinet, being named as Minister of Youth, Sports, Culture and Constituency Empowerment, while Ian Pinnard, who gave up active politics in 2009 for health reasons is the new Minister of Public Works and Ports.
In his address to the ceremony, Antigua and Barbuda’s Tourism, Economic Development Investment and Energy Minister Asot Michael said that when Caribbean people want to solve a problem, they turn to Labour parties that “bring institutional knowledge, a cadre of effective leaders, a love for freedom and justice, and jobs jobs jobs.”
Like every country in the Caribbean, the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica must create jobs and opportunities in abundance,” said Michael, who is a member of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) that won general elections in that country in June.
“The young people who have graduated from High School, the parents who must meet the cost of equipping their children for a better life, the businesspersons who need skilled and competent workers, and the managers who wish to ensure profitable enterprises, all turn to government,” he added.
Michael also said it was Skerrit, who embraced the vision of the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chanvez, who wanted to lift thousands of people out of poverty.
“In Antigua and Barbuda, here in Dominica and other OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) territories, we therefore see PetroCaribe as a very important instrument for development and we see it as our duty to defend PetroCaribe whenever and wherever it is challenged.
“It was Prime Minister Skerrit who was among one of the leading pioneers in championing this cause for the people of Dominica and the people of the Caribbean.”
PetroCaribe is an oil alliance of many Caribbean countries with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.
Michael said that had there been no PetroCaribe, “Antigua and Barbuda and the Commonwealth of Dominica would long ago have been driven over a fiscal cliff, with disastrous consequences for our nations and our people.”
The following is the full list of Ministers sworn into Office on Saturday.
Justina Charles – Minister of Youth, Sports, Culture and Constituency Empowerment
Dr John Colin Mc. Intyre – Minister of Planning, Economic Development and Investment
Reginald Austrie – Minister of Housing, Lands and Water Resource Management
Ian Pinnard – Minister of Public Works and Ports
Johnson Drigo – Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries
Catherine Daniel – Minister of Social Services, Family and Gender Affairs
Ian Douglas – Minister of Trade, Energy and Employment
Rayburn Blackmore –Minister of Justice, Immigration and National Security
Petter St Jean – Minister of Education and Human Resource Development
Roselyn Paul– Minister of Commerce, Enterprise and Small Business Development
Dr Kenneth Darroux – Minister of Health and Environment – taking over from Julius Timothy who failed.
Kelver Darroux – Minister of Information, Science, Telecommunications and Technology
Dr Cassius Darroux – Minister Kalingo Affairs (Carib Affairs)
Robert Tonge – Minister of Tourism and Urban Renewal
Francine Baron – Minister for Foreign Affairs and CARICOM Affairs
Miriam Blanchard – Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Project Planning and Implementation.