Current Affairs

Current Affairs




PM's second team takes the oath
Ministers urged to give deputies room to perform

Observer Reporter
Friday, November 01, 2002


THE JUNIOR TEAM: Prime Minister P J Patterson (centre front row) and members of his junior team at King's House after they were sworn in at King's House yesterday. Foreground is Deika Morrison, and in front row (from left) are Delano Franklyn, Harry Douglas, Donald Rhodd and Noel Monteith. In second row (from left) are Kern Spencer, Fenton Ferguson, Fitz Jackson, Derrick Kellier and Wykeham McNeill, while at the back are Floyd Morris (left) and Errol Ennis. (Photo: Bryan Cummings)

GOVERNOR-General Sir Howard Cooke yesterday completed the process of inaugurating the executive of the new government with the swearing in of 11 ministers of state and one parliamentary secretary during a ceremony at Kings House.

At the same time, Prime Minister P J Patterson instructed Cabinet ministers to give their deputies room to perform and develop their skills.

"I have made it clear both to Cabinet ministers and to ministers of state that the ministers (of state) must be allowed to exercise their responsibilities in the areas that are assigned to them," said Patterson. "Were that not so there would be no need for ministers of state."

Ministers, Patterson said, cannot effectively do all the work themselves and so should utilise their deputies and

free-up themselves to interact with the public in the field.

"In these days of modern communication a ministerial job can't be done simply from a desk in an air-conditioned office," said the prime minister. "It has to be done by going out there and being...among the people, not just talking to the people, but listening...and having dialogue with the people."

He repeated his now familiar theme, adopted since his party's eight-seat margin of victory in the October 16 general elections, that the electorate was demanding unity.

"They want a country of unity, not strife. They want a country of tolerance, not of perpetual tension," noted Patterson.

In this regard, he noted that the management of the 60-seat legislature would require "greater skills and more concentrated attention" and he hoped the executive team he had assembled had struck the right balance.

In his remarks Sir Howard called on the government and opposition to identify a "common vision for the country". "The time for denigration is past ...," declared the governor general, while stressing the need for a revival of community spirit.

Listing priority areas for his administration, Patterson included the conclusion of pending public sector wage negotiations, influencing the process of socialisation with a cultural thrust and a focus on improving the physical infrastructure of inner-city and some rural communities. The prime minister also underscored the importance of foreign trade and relations.

Guests at yesterday's ceremony applauded as each official said the oaths of allegiance and office. The oaths were amended during the last Parliament to omit reference to The Queen and, instead, require officials to swear allegiance and loyalty to the Constitution, laws and people of Jamaica.

The loudest applause was expressed for Harry Douglas, the jocular deputy general secretary of the ruling People's National Party on his appointment as state minister for water and housing.

Members of the government's second team are:

Derrick Kellier - Deputy House Leader/National Security

Fitz Jackson - Finance and Planning

Wykeham McNeil - Tourism and Industry

Fenton Ferguson - Transport and Works

Harry Douglas - Water and Housing

Errol Ennis - Agriculture

Sen Floyd Morris - Labour and Welfare

Sen Noel Monteith - Education, Youth and Culture

Sen Delano Franklin - Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

Sen Deika Morrison - Finance and Planning

Dr Donald Rhodd - Education, Youth and Culture

Sen Kern Spencer - Parliamentary Secretary/National Security