PM Barrow announces new Cabinet

Hon. Dean Barrow and his party has been granted a second term in office and today Prime Minister Barrow announced his new cabinet. The press conference was held at the conference room within the NEMO building this afternoon and seated at the head table was the Hon. Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Gaspar Vega, Party Chairman the Hon. Patrick Faber and Deputy Chair Hon. Erwin Contreras. Prime Minister started firstly with the basis of choice for his appointments.

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister, Belize
I had two options – to go the traditional route and to look for tried and true UDP party activists and make them Senators and Ministers or to go the route of looking for the best talent, the best brain power and the best expertise that would be available to me, so that I can form a Cabinet that could be seen by all the people of this country, as reflecting an effort to harness all of the skills available to the UDP in order to produce the best Government possible. That was the option that I chose, that is the route that I am following.

The PM also introduced Ministers of State for some Ministries and define what their role will be and their operational capacity.

Hon. Dean Barrow
The Minister of State that will be appointed will be given particular responsibilities for subject areas in the overall portfolio. What used to happen in the past is that people used to be appointed Ministers of State and they were basically given nothing to do in some cases. What I am attempting is to ensure that the Ministers of State will be work-a-day Ministers of State with particular responsibilities for areas of the overall portfolio. You can’t get away from the Constitutional fact that the Minister is the Minister and the Minister of State is the Minister of State. However, we can make this work on a practical level, where the Minister will leave to the Minister of State, the running of the Ministry with respect to the sections of the Ministry that the Minister of State has been asked to work on.

The PM then went on to list the Ministers and who got or retained their ministries. He started firstly with Min of Finance and Economic Development with Santiago Castillo being the Minister of state with special emphasis on Economic Development.

Hon. Dean Barrow
I would be Minister of Finance and Economic Development and assisting me with particular responsibility for the economic Development aspect of the portfolio will be the Hon. Santino Santiago Castillo. He will be in charge of capital budget and management, economic planning, public sector program planning, development finance institutions and multi-lateral financing agencies – the DFC, the Social Investment Fund and the Statistical Institute of Belize.

He then spoke on the portfolio of Hon. Erwin Contreras.

Hon. Dean Barrow
So the Ministry of Trade Investment, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection will now include Foreign Trade and would off course include Investment Promotion – the promotion of foreign direct investment, international trade negotiations, industrial and commercial development – Beltraide, small business gaming and all the consumer protection functions. Also, the Bureau of Standards, consumer protection, fair competition, supplies and price control, weights and measures, the Free Zone and the export processing zones. The Minister of Trade Investment, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection is going to be the Hon. Erwin Rafael Contreras.

The Ministry of Natural Resources has been joined with the Ministry of Agriculture with new comer Hugo Patt being the Minister of State.

Hon. Dean Barrow
Some of the old subject areas in the previous Ministry of Natural Resources are going to new ministries. The Natural Resources, Lands and areas such as land management, land survey, physical planning, hydrology and solid waste management will be added to the Ministry of Agriculture. The Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture will be the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Gaspar Vega and he will be assisted by the Hon. Hugo Patt as Minister of State with particular responsibilities in Agriculture.

The Hon. Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington retained his Ministry while the Hon. John Saldivar got a new portfolio.

Hon. Dean Barrow
The Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs is the Hon. Wilfred Sedi Elrington. We have again combined Police and Defense in the Ministry of National Security and the new Minister of National Security is the Hon. John Saldivar. He will be assisted by Minister of State, Elvin Penner, who will have particular responsibility for Immigration, Boundary Protection and the Immigration Department.

Hon. Michael Finnegan also retained his ministry while Hon. Rene Montero got a new portfolio with Hon. Edmund Castro being the Minister of state in that Ministry.

Hon. Dean Barrow
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development remains the same and the Minister of Housing and Urban Development remains the same – the Hon. Michael Finnegan. Transport is being combined with Works and Transport now includes ground, sea and air transport. The Minister of Works and Transport will be the Hon. Rene Montero and he will be assisted by Minister of State with the responsibility of transport – Hon. Edmund Castro.

Hon. Manuel Heredia, Pablo Marin and Partick Faber remains under their leadership with only a few tweaks in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Ministry of Education and Youth.

Hon. Dean Barrow
The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation now becomes the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Minister remains the same, the Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. The Ministry of Health remains the same and the Minster remains the same, the Hon. Pablo Marin. The Minster of Education, Youth and Sports is off-course the Hon. Patrick Faber and he will be assisted by a Minster of State, with responsibility for both youth and sports, Hon. Herman Longsworth.

While the Hon. Boots Martinez got a new portfolio and will be assisted with a Ministry of state in that Ministry.

Hon. Dean Barrow
There is a new Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation and the new Minister of this Ministry is the Hon. Boots Martinez.