Current Affairs

Current Affairs




PM retains chairmanship of Development Council
BYRON BUCKLEY, Senior political reporter
Wednesday, November 13, 2002


PATTERSON... heads Cabinet sub-commitee that approves investment and development proposals

PRIME Minister P J Patterson has retained chairmanship of the Development Council, the sub-committee of the Cabinet that approves investment and development proposals.

At the same time, a new sub-committee addressing public order has been formed and will be chaired by Dr Peter Phillips, the national security minister. The formation of this committee is in an apparent response to the breakdown in social order in areas beyond national security as demonstrated by activities such as illegal vending, unauthorised public passenger vehicles and violation of building regulations.

"These (sub-committees) are very important components of the business of government," Information Minister Burchell Whiteman told reporters at Monday's post-Cabinet press briefing.

"We have been operating with this committee structure for some time and I think, generally speaking, to good effect," he added; noting that a number of Commonwealth countries had now adopted this practice.

Patterson's deputy is Paul Robertson, the newly appointed minister of development, who has portfolio responsibility for overseeing the administration's drive to create jobs through an expansion in investment projects.

The Cabinet sub-committees and chairpersons are as follows:

Development Council - P J Patterson

International Relations & Trade - K D Knight

Legislation - K D Knight

Public Order - Dr Peter Phillips

Council on Human and Social

Development (COHSOD) - Minister Maxine Henry-Wilson

Natural Resources - Donald Buchanan

Infrastructure - Robert Pickersgill

According to Whiteman, the Cabinet sub-committees include ministers of state, public officials and, sometimes, persons from civil society.

"The intention is to reduce the workload of the full Cabinet to enhance the quality of decisions through specialisation," the information minister explains.

Added Whiteman: "When you have a group of persons who are specialists in the field, then there is a greater chance that you will get quality presentations in terms of policy advice, (which) will certainly enhance the quality of collective responsibility."

The terms of reference of the sub-committee, Whiteman said, was to co-ordinate and refine sectoral policy issues and to ensure that all the sectoral and ministerial interests are identified and articulated. This, he said, was in an attempt to reduce the chance that Cabinet gets something before it which has "points of contention still unresolved".