Four Government Ministers have had their portfolios shuffled following assessments made by Prime Minister John Briceno. Perhaps the most notable change is that of Michel Chebat who was stripped of the Ministry of Health and given the Ministry of Public Utilities and Logistics. The shuffle comes as no surprise to our newsroom as Prime Minister John Briceno did say to News Director, Renee Trujillo that he would be looking at the performance of each Cabinet Minister and make the necessary changes. For context, here is a byte from that interview conducted on November 24, 2021.
Reporter: Any plans for a reshuffle In cabinet?
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “Well no I have not reached the point of thinking about any shuffle but next month I do plan to call in our ministers one by one to talk to them about their performance and assessments then after that maybe I might consider whether we need to do any restructuring of the cabinet, moving departments or ministries or ministers but I’m not there.“
Forty-seven days after that interview the announcement came of the changes within Cabinet. A release from the Belize Press Office notes that Kevin Bernard will now serve as Minister of Health and Wellness. Minister Rodwell Ferguson will take over the portfolios of Youth and Sports and will remain with responsibility for transport. Minister Francis Fonseca has been given the portfolio of E-Governance added to his current responsibilities. Minister of Public Service, Henry Charles Usher spoke on the reshuffling saying the changes are an indication of good leadership within the Briceno administration.
Henry Charles Usher, Chairman, People’s United Party: “What I can say is as the press release said very clearly, the Prime Minister did an annual review of all the cabinet posts to look at performance, to look at effectiveness and in his judgment this is the best way forward and I fully support his judgment. We all serve as ministers at the pleasure of the Prime Minister so at any point he can come and say minister usher I want you to take over this portfolio or I want this portfolio to be removed from you, we serve at his pleasure and if he’s willing to do an annual review and I welcome the annual review from our leader which shows good leadership on his part to look at all the ministries, to look at the performance of the ministers and to see how best that we can govern in accordance with plan Belize and with our governance objectives. I think the Prime Minister reviewed performance of all ministers and so he made the best judgment possible as the Prime Minister of this country.”
Among the changes is the creation of a new portfolio, namely Religious Affairs. This added responsibility was placed in the lap of Minister Henry Usher who told the media that it was a necessary addition.
Love News understands that Cabinet Secretary, Stuart Leslie is overseeing the smooth transitions which are already in effect.