Golding reshuffles Cabinet
Senator Dorothy Lightbourne has been dumped from her post as justice minister and attorney general, making her the biggest casualty of the long-anticipated reshuffle of the Bruce Golding Cabinet.
Lightbourne, a major character in the Manatt-Dudus saga, had not been expected to survive in the Cabinet shake-up after receiving a pounding for her handling of the extradition request for accused drug kingpin Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke.
Last night, Daryl Vaz, minister with responsibility for information, told The Gleaner that Karl Samuda, minister of industry, investment and commerce, opted out of the Cabinet.
“He was offered another position, which he refused, and so that decision was entirely up to him,” Vaz said.
Well-placed Gleaner sources indicate that Samuda was being offered the job as energy and mining minister.
In the case of Lightbourne, Vaz argued it would not be a fair assessment to say the handling of the Coke extradition request led to her demise.
He said he did not know what happened, but government insiders suggested her management style might have cost her the Cabinet post.
Replacing the former justice minister will be current House Speaker Delroy Chuck, who up to the 2007 general election had shadowed the justice portfolio for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).
The new justice minister will, however, not become attorney general, in keeping with the recommendation of the Manatt-Dudus commission that the posts be separated.
“A further announcement will be made concerning the appointment of a new attorney general,” the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) announced in a release late last night.
Other Cabinet changes announced by the OPM include Clive Mullings’ return as minister of energy and mining, replacing James Robertson who resigned last month after revealing that his United States visa had been cancelled, along with that of his wife.
Robertson claimed then that he believed the cancellations by the American embassy might haveresulted from allegations of criminality levelled against him by a Jamaican seeking asylum in the US.
Senator Arthur Williams, current state minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, has been promoted to minister without portfolio in the Cabinet Office with responsibility for the public service.
“The appointment of the Honourable Arthur Williams to the Cabinet as minister with responsibility for the public service is in keeping with the recommendation of the Public Sector Transformation Unit (PSTU),” the OPM said.
Dr Christopher Tufton will be moving from the agriculture ministry to industry, investment and commerce.
Minister with responsibility for local government, Robert Montague, has been promoted to head agriculture and fisheries.
Shahine Robinson, who is currently a state minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, will continue there while taking on Montague’s local government duties.
Golding has also rewarded Othneil Lawrence, of North West St Ann, and North East St Catherine MP Gregory Mair with state minister posts. Lawrence will go to transport and works, headed by Mike Henry, while Mair will head to the education ministry, giving support to Education Minister Andrew Holness.
Dr St Aubyn Bartlett has been appointed state minister for national security.
The new junior minister appointments will replace the positions previously held by Dr Ronald Robinson, Everald Warmington and JLP General Secretary Aundré Franklin.
Notably overlooked is Warmington, the former state minister for water and housing.
Warmington had resigned as MP for South West St Catherine over his dual-citizenship status, but had not returned to the ministry despite heading back to the House of Representatives after winning the by-election to fill his vacated seat.
According to the OPM, the appointments will take effect on Friday and will coincide with the reassignment of subjects, departments and agencies based on the recommendations of the Public Sector Master Rationalisation Plan developed by the PSTU and approved by the Cabinet.
The new ministers were scheduled to be sworn in at King’s House today.