Saturday, April 20, 2024

Cabinet re-shuffle sees three ministries assigned new ministers


The Government of Belize (GOB) announced on Monday, January 10th, portfolio adjustments in three of its ministries. The re-shuffling, which came into effect immediately, saw new ministers assigned to the Ministries of Health and Wellness, Public Utilities and Logistics, and Transport, Youth, and Sports. According to GOB, the changes came from a comprehensive five-year review of national conditions, Cabinet portfolio performance, and leadership effectiveness.

The new changes saw the Ministry of Health and Wellness taken away from the Honorable Michel Chebat and handed over to the Honorable Kevin Bernard. Bernard held the portfolio of Youth, Sports, and E-Governance. Chebat will now head the Ministry of Public Utilities and Logistics, previously held by the Honorable Rodwell Fergusson. The Honorable Ferguson will now serve as the Minister of Transport, Youth, and Sports.

Other changes in Cabinet include the addition of the responsibility for E-Governance to the Minister of Education, Culture, Science, and Technology, the Honorable Francis Fonseca. While the Honorable Henry Charles Usher, Minister of the Public Service, Constitutional and Political Affairs, will now also handle religious affairs. In addition, the Office of the Prime Minister will assume the operations and coordination for the National Security Council.

The official government release noted that the former three-time Mayor of the Orange Walk Town Council, the Honorable Bernard has considerable experience in a broad spectrum of public sector and stakeholder management. Minister Honorable Chebat, a senior counsel with expertise in commerce and business, is particularly suited to tackle the complexities of public utilities and logistics. While the Honorable Ferguson, who already delivered improvements to the national transport system, has successfully managed youth and sports programs in one of the country’s largest constituencies. The transformational e-governance initiatives of the government will be integrated into the Education, Science, and Technology architecture under the capable leadership of the Honorable Fonseca.

Prime Minister, Honorable John Briceño

All other ministerial and minister of state appointments remain in place. Prime Minister Honorable John Briceño has advised the Governor General of Belize, Her Excellency Froyla Tzalam, of the changes in Cabinet. “Every member of Cabinet, including those whose responsibilities are being re-assigned, enjoy my full confidence,” said Briceño. “My constitutional obligation as a steward of the Executive requires the fine-tuning of ministerial designations from time to time, and in view of the current circumstances, I am convinced that the new assignments will further the national interest.”

Prime Minister Briceño has directed the expeditiously ministerial transition process, including the appointment of chief executive officers and senior staff regarding the re-shuffling. These adjustments are expected to enhance Cabinet’s administration and advance key governance goals.

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