Kern Spencer is new gov't senator
Friday, February 15, 2002
PRIME Minister P J Patterson yesterday appointed Kern Spencer, the 28-year-old general-secretary of the People's National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO) as a senator and parliamentary secretary in the security ministry.
Spencer will be sworn into office during a ceremony at King's House today, a statement from Jamaica House said.
Senator Aloun N'dombet Assamba, who was recently appointed state minister for industry, commerce and technology, will also being sworn in today.
"It came as a surprise to me," Spencer, the former president of the Guild of Undergraduates at the University of the West Indies (UWI), told the Observer yesterday.
"It demonstrates that the prime minister is definitely going for youth with the recent appointment of Senator Floyd Morris as state minister for labour and social security. And now he has brought me to the fore as another young person," he added.
In reaction to Spencer's appointment, Basil Waite, PNPYO chairman, said he was "extremely elated".
Said Waite: "It shows that the youth organisation is listened to. The organisation nominated Floyd Morris first as senator and now Kern. It shows a level of consistency on the part of the party president in promoting young people."
Waite also said he now wants the governing party to address youth employment issues in the upcoming budget and election manifesto.
The Patriots, a caucus of young professionals in the ruling PNP, also hailed Spencer's appointment yesterday.
"Kern brings a well-needed youthful energy to the Senate and to the political process as a whole. His appointment can only add to the process of renewal that the country's politics so badly needs," the group said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Spencer, who holds graduate and post-graduate degrees in government and international relations, said he was approaching his new job with an "open mind" and he intended to offer "100 per cent" assistance to the minister of national security.
One area of focus, he said, would be crime and violence as they relate to young women in order to assist them in feeling safer in the society.
Spencer was previously employed as executive assistant to Donald Buchanan, the labour and social security minister.