The slate of newly appointed Senior and Junior Ministers comprising the new Administration of Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has largely been welcomed by business stakeholders, who expect that they will serve the country well.
The 19 Cabinet Ministers and nine Ministers of State were sworn into office by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, during separate ceremonies at King’s House on September 13 and 14, respectively.
Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF) President, David Wan, tells JIS News that the composition of the Administration is a “good mix of experience, youth and females.”
He welcomes, in particular, Hon. Floyd Green’s promotion to Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.
“I think that’s well deserved. Mr. Green, in my view, has represented himself and his constituency well, and I think he [is] one of the bright youngsters emerging from the [previous] Administration… who has demonstrated that he is quite capable,” Mr. Wan says.
The JEF President also welcomes Prime Minister Holness’ decision to reconfigure the previous Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, with Minister Audley Shaw having responsibility for Industry, Investment and Commerce.
“I think it was a good move. I think it was too complex for any [single] Minister to handle all of those [portfolios].
Agriculture, in my opinion, is one of the untapped potential economic growth areas of Jamaica, but successive Administrations have not been able to really harness [it] as a driver of our economy,” he contends.
Mr. Wan says he is anticipating an increased infusion of technology, greater investments, and heightened upskilling of farmers.
“My impression is that there is a large amount of subsistence farming which, I think, we need to help … especially the small and micro farmers… to move up from, so that they can get the tools as well as the skills training to improve productivity,” he posits.
Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) President, Lloyd Distant Jr., for his part, says that the Cabinet is “well balanced,” adding that “I am pleased to see that some of the relative newcomers have been given an opportunity to serve.”
“I believe that there are certain positive signs of succession planning being contemplated by the selection of State Ministers,” he says.
The JCC President tells JIS News that he anticipates that the new Cabinet will be more effective and impactful.
“I’m also hopeful that the Prime Minister will establish a performance scorecard in terms of the expectations of what is to be delivered and that there will be tracking against delivery,” he adds.
This is imperative, he says, as “it is important to know that we are getting the most from the officials charged with piloting Jamaica through the… challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and into the future.”
Business analyst, Warren McDonald, notes that while there has been some discussion regarding the size of the Cabinet, “I don’t think it is too large”.
“I acknowledge that we need to keep it tight but I think the overall number is reasonable,” he tells JIS News.
Mr. McDonald says the appointments, in some instances, represent “a changing of the guard,” and also endorses Minister Green’s appointment to the Cabinet.
“I support that. I think, so far, he has been doing a good job. He’s a young man with ambition and [is] willing to work hard. I think this is one of the positives, really, seeing this new generation of emerging political leaders,” he adds.
Meanwhile, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), in welcoming the new Cabinet, says the cohort represents “an excellent blend of experience and youth”.
The JCC, in a statement, says it endorses the appointment of Hon. Fayval Williams as Minister of Education, Youth and Information, with the support of Hon. Robert Morgan as State Minister “as we recognise that this portfolio requires transformation”.
Additionally, the organisation agrees with the decision to separate Agriculture and Fisheries “as this area requires focus and energy”, adding that Mr. Green’s appointment as Portfolio Minister “is a good choice [given] his previous experience in this Ministry”.
The JCC says the amalgamation of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, for which Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. has been assigned Minister, “is another positive appointment”.
“We wish the new Cabinet and the newly appointed Junior Ministers success and we pledge our support for the Prime Minister and his team as we move Jamaica forward, united as a people,” the JCC adds.
Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ) President, Hugh Johnson, while praising some of the appointments, particularly the promotion of Minister Green, says he believes that the size of the Cabinet could be smaller.