Government sources confirm that cabinet changes were being discussed, but one local television station reported Monday that they are expected to take effect “in the coming days’’.
The report was carried on the evening news on MTV, which is widely regarded as friendly to the government. One of the mentors to the news staff is Ray Roberts, director of the Government Information Service (GIS).
The station said MP Roberts – Minister of Labour and Ecclesiastical Affairs – will become Minister of Environment and Export Trade.
Prime Minister Thomas took responsibility for Environment and Export Trade in January. He did so after firing the then minister, Joseph Gilbert.
Roberts, who has been MP for St. George South for almost nine years, has been involved in every cabinet shuffle that has taken place each year since 2009.
As part of the pending new cabinet arrangements, Social Development Minister, Sylvester Quarless, will be given increased responsibilities.
Quarless will have Labour and Ecclesiastical Affairs added to his Social Development portfolio.
“The Prime Minister is still in the process of finalizing the changes,’’ MTV said.
The embattled government of Thomas, who is also leader of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), has lost three minister through resignations since its 11 – 4 general election victory in 2008.
Complaints by some about what they consider as the government’s underperformance, and its lack of job-creation initiatives, have not been helped by divisions in the NDC over issues such as the relationship between the party and government.
The upcoming cabinet changes come on the heels of a reshuffle of some permanent secretaries. Among the ministries affected by a recent permanent secretaries’ reshuffle were Labour, Tourism, and Education and Human Resource Development.
The government, which has refuted criticism of its performance and has blamed it on poor public relations, has been attempting to correct the problem.
A government official said a “CARICOM national’’ was hired last month to work with the GIS and with public relations officers.
“The PROs have been made aware that they are accountable to that female individual and they will now report directly to the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Ambassador William Joseph,’’ the official said.
“The government believes that PROs must step up their political work in terms of letting Grenadians know what our administration has been doing,’’ the official continued. “As with other employees whose work is of a political nature, the responsibility for PROs falls under the Office of the Prime Minister. The same is true for all other persons who serve at the pleasure of the prime minister or a minister of government, including advisors, the press secretary, outreach officers and drivers.’’
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