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JIS News

Prime Minister-designate and Local Government, Community Development and Sport Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, will be sworn in as Jamaica’s seventh Prime Minister, and first female Head of Government, on Thursday, March 30.
At Monday’s (March 13) post-Cabinet press briefing, Mrs. Simpson Miller announced that members of the new Cabinet, which she would appoint, would be sworn in on Friday, March 31, the same day on which Parliament would be prorogued.
Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has informed that he will proceed on retirement on March 30, the day on which he will tender his resignation to the Governor-General. Mrs. Simpson Miller also disclosed that the opening of the new legislative year, delivery of the Throne Speech by the Governor-General and the tabling of the Estimates of Expenditure, would take place on April 12. Speaking in a recent interview with JIS News, Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman explained that the selection process for the new Cabinet was entirely up to the new Prime Minister. “She will, using her best judgement, decide upon the size of the Cabinet, the members of the Cabinet, and make the call,” he said, noting that it was however, “customary that a Prime Minister consult with those whom he or she wishes to appoint and the final appointment is something which is mutually arrived at”.
Turning to the Boards of the various public sector agencies and how they will be affected, the Information Minister informed that, “once the Cabinet that now exists ceases to function, and a new Cabinet is in place, it is for that Cabinet and the Prime Minister to decide whether the Boards that are in place should continue, whether some of them or all of them would be expected to offer their resignation or whether the Cabinet wishes to revoke their appointment”. He pointed out that the appointment of Boards is a Ministerial activity, “usually with the knowledge and approval of the Cabinet and certainly with the knowledge and support of the Prime Minister”.
As for Senators, he explained, that they “do not hold the office of Senate or the position of Senator by virtue of the shape of or the existence of a Cabinet”. Although Senators usually hold office until the government itself changes by way of a general election, they may choose to offer their resignation, “should it be thought necessary or advisable when a new Prime Minister is appointed”.
He further explained that Senators, who were members of the Cabinet, would not retain their Cabinet position while they remained as Senators, unless the Prime Minister wishes them to do so. Noting that currently, there are two Ministers in the Cabinet, who were in the Senate, he said they might remain as Senators if they chose not to resign, but they wouldn’t necessarily hold office as members of the Cabinet of the new Prime Minister.