Monday, July 15, 2024

PM Barrow sworn in: Cabinet members and Senators appointed


After winning 19 out of 31 seats in the 2015 General Elections, the United Democratic Party (UDP) has officially taken over control of Central Government for its third consecutive term. As such, on Thursday, November 6th, UDP leader and elected Area Representative for the Queen’s Square Constituency, Honorable Dean Oliver Barrow, was sworn in by Governor General Sir Colville Young during a private ceremony as a three-peat Prime Minister. Following his official installation, Barrow announced the members of his Cabinet and Senate who will be assisting him in running the country for the term of 2015-2020. The official announcement was made on Monday, November 9th during a press conference at the Biltmore Plaza in Belize City.004 - PM Reciting Oath
The Cabinet will include: Barrow who will serve as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities; Honorable Gaspar Vega who will serve as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development; Honorable Erwin Contreras who will serve as Minister of Economic Development, Investment, Trade and Commerce; Honorable Michael Finnegan who will serve as Minister of Housing and Urban Development; Honorable Patrick Faber who will serve as Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Culture, Youth and Sport; Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. who will serve as Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation; Honorable Anthony Martinez who will serve as Minister of Human Development; Honorable John Saldivar who will serve as Minister of National Security; Honorable Rene Montero who will serve as Minister of Works, Transport and National Emergency Management Organization; Honorable Wilfred Elrington who will serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs; Honorable Pablo Marin who will serve as Minister of Health; Honorable Hugo Patt who will serve as Minister of Local Government, Labour and Rural Development; Senator Godwin Hulse who will serve as Minister of Natural Resources and Immigration; and Vanessa Retreage who will serve as Minister of Legal Affairs and as The Attorney General. The new UDP Cabinet features 12 full Ministers who won seats in the 2015 General Elections and one full Minister by senatorial appointment. “I think we’re off to an excellent start. Indeed the question of seniority, in fact, was one of the foremost considerations, but in order to be sure that the newly elected members of the house, the new entrants into the cabinet could play a dramatic role and contribute to a sense of renewal. And in fact ensure that as a practical matter there is a refresh, we’ve done what we’ve done. We’re prevented by the constitution in the circumstances for making any of them full ministers, but you will see that every single one has a key set of responsibilities and so we think that ultimately results in a good fit, in a new paradigm that will allow us to take this country forward,” said Barrow.001 - PM&GG
Ministers of State include: Honorable Frank Mena with responsibility for Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities; Honorable Omar Figueroa with responsibility for Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change; Honorable Tracy Panton with responsibility for Investment, Trade and Commerce; Honorable Elodio Aragon Jr. with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport; Honorable Edmund Castro with responsibility for Transport and NEMO; Honorable Angel Campos with responsibility for NHI, and Primary Health; and Honorable Beverly Castillo with responsibility for Immigration. The Speak of the House of Representative was awarded to Honorable Michael Peyrefitte. These Ministers of State will only attend Cabinet upon invitation by the Prime Minister.
The Senate will be made up of Godwin Hulse, Francine Burns, Steve Duncan, Macario Coy, Carla Barnett and Aldo Salazar. The President of the Senate of Honorable Lee Mark Chang. “I have broken what was a longstanding informal rule of mine that no candidate who ran in the election and didn’t win would be made a Senator. In this situation Dr. Carla Barnett brings so much to the table, has so much to contribute to the government that she is going to be appointed a Senator to represent the UDP in the Senate of Belize,” said Barrow on the appointment of his Senate.44 PM presents Cabinet and Senate
But the most unexpected appointment was that of the Attorney General of Belize, as for the first time in history, a female received the position. Barrow appointed Attorney-at-law Vanessa Retreage as Attorney General of Belize, replacing Wilfred Elrington. “We are very pleased to bring in somebody from the private Bar as Attorney General and in fact, in effect, Minister of Legal Affairs. In terms of the Foreign Minister (Elrington), as you seen we’ve tried to lighten his load and that is why we brought in Retreage to achieve this historic accomplishment by having the first woman Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs,” said Barrow. Retreage will be act as the primary legal adviser to the Government of Belize.
The final announcement was regarding who will take on the responsibility of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the respective ministries; Audrey Wallace will be the CEO of the Office of the Prime Minister; Peter Allen will be the CEO of Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities; Edmund Zuniga will be CEO of Natural Resources; Kerry Belisle will be CEO of Local Government, Labour and Rural Development; Dr. Ramon Figueroa will be CEO of Health; Lawrence Sylvestre will be CEO of Foreign Affairs; Errol Gentle will be CEO of Works; Ruth Meighan will be CEO of Transport and NEMO; George Lovell will be CEO of National Security; Judith Alpuche will be CEO of Human Development; Yashin Dujon will be CEO of Tourism; David Leacock will be CEO of Education, Science and Technology; Adelle Catzim will be CEO of Culture, Youth and Sports; Denton Belisle will be CEO of Housing; Sharman Hyde will be CEO of Economic Development; Amparo Nobel Masson will be CEO of Investment, Trade and Commerce; Jose Alpuche will be CEO of Agriculture; and Colin Young will be CEO of Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change.

Vanessa Retreage
Vanessa Retreage

“We are ready to give it our all one more time. We are strengthened now by this infusion of new blood, by way of the first time candidates that have won. I am satisfied that everybody, every single candidate in the UDP worked tremendously hard, tirelessly, indefatigably and I therefore am content to know that those that won will bring this same level of unflagging energy to their service to the people of this country as members of the cabinet, whether they are full ministers or ministers of state. I say finally, to the people of Belize, we are ecstatic at your vote of confidence. We are also of course very mindful of the tremendous responsibility that comes along with that. We know that the burden of expectations will perhaps be even more crushing this time. But we assure you that we will do our absolute best to deliver comprehensively and to serve all the people of this country,” ended Barrow.

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