Govt to consider appointment of junior Agriculture Minister

first_img– Granger’s Cabinet now stands at 27By Devina SamarooGovernment is willing to consider the appointment of a junior Agriculture Minister to provide assistance to Agriculture Minister Noel Holder in the management of the critical sector, once a request is made to Cabinet.Minister Holder’s performance came under public scrutiny and was up for much public discourse after an online news entity reported that the Alliance For Change (AFC) arm of the coalition Government is displeased with the direction agriculture is heading.Holder was put forward by the AFC since the agriculture portfolio was one which came under the AFC in accordance with theAgriculture Minister Noel HolderCummingsburg Accord.While admitting their dissatisfaction with the manner in which the closure of the Wales Sugar Estate was handled, the party has since clarified that its senior members never made such general pronouncements on the overall performance of the Agriculture Minister, neither did they put forward a recommendation for junior Minister.Nonetheless, sections of the public strongly believe that the Minister is not vibrant enough to take charge of the agriculture sector of the country.Minister Holder is still to meet with the sugar workers more than four months after the announcement was made and he has been heavily criticised for taking a “laid back” approach to the issue.In fact, the Action Committee of the Rice Producers Association (RPA) – an A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) aligned group – had already expressed that Holder is incapable of handling the tasks under his portfolio, and as such, declared that it has no confidence in his abilities to effectively and efficiently manage the agriculture sector.During an interview on his weekly television show ‘The Public Interest’, President David Granger indicated that he is aware of letters to the editors expressing concerns over the Minister’s performance; however, he made it clear Government’s policy is not determined by the contents of those publications.He clarified that this does not mean that his Administration does not take heed of public opinion.On the demands for an additional Minister, President Granger posited also that no formal request was ever made to him for there to be another Minister under the Agriculture Ministry.“If Minister Holder wanted assistance, he is free to approach me… Neither Mr Ramjattan, the Leader of the (AFC) party or Mr Holder has approached me on the matter. But you know, if there was a need, I would certainly give consideration to it,” he stated.“There might be a possibility of having a Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture but that need has not been articulated but it’s something that I might consider,” he further noted.Moreover, in light of the growing insecurities in the sugar industry which resulted following the closure of the Wales Sugar Estate and the shutdown of the remaining operations at the La Bonne Intention Estate, President Granger expressed willingness to meet with the disgruntled sugar workers to listen to their concerns.However, he did not indicate if there is a planned engagement in the making.Additionally, he noted that the Minister should have already devised a plan to present to the workers who were attached to the Wales Estate.“I hoped it would be ready by now but certainly by the end of the month,” he assured.Meanwhile, this consideration comes 10 months after the Head of State had defended his large Cabinet saying that he wanted a “lean” Cabinet.Granger’s Cabinet now stands at 27.last_img

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