The People’s United Party held its National Party Council meeting on Saturday at the auditorium of the Belize Elementary School in Belize City. Among the issues tabled at the event was the formulation of a shadow Cabinet that would be geared at monitoring national issues with an aim to ensure that the Government of Belize is doing what needs to be done and thus holding them accountable. Love News spoke with the Party Leader, John Briceno on the shadow Cabinet initiative.
“Well the whole idea of a shadow cabinet, we have several reasons we would want to do that. One it is important that we can share the work within the party and in this case within the parliamentarians. A shadow cabinet is a practice widely used in the Caribbean and in other democracies so we believe that here in Belize it is time for us to give it a try. It is the first time that any party has formally adopted a shadow cabinet. What is it that we expect of them ? Well one person is being assigned a specific ministry and they are going to be the party’s spokesperson when it comes to dealing with that Ministry. Secondly we need to keep current the issues of an assigned Ministry. We need to be proactive in building the necessary relationships with the ministries that these parliamentarians are representatives of so we can get the relevant information as to what exactly is happening there. We need als , we in the party have a policy committee that is being chaired by Narda Garcia and Mrs Zoe Zetina. So we are saying that this parliamentarian has to be in touch with the policy committee, one should be able to get the technical assistance and advice on specific issue. We are saying also that we need to liaise with the Director of Communication when a rapid response is needed for instance if there is an issue like the immigration or lands department or whichever Ministry and that person has to be able to assist with the press release, giving interviews to the media and even appear on the talk shows. Also very important to us is that these parliamentarians also need to be able to build a strong relationship with the stakeholders so we could always be informed as to what is their perspective on the issues in front of them and also for us to be able to present our party’s views. Now to ensure that this is not just something that we name people and everybody forgets about it, as the Party Leader I am asking that we give a quarterly written report on the activities on they did every quarter as to the actions that we took and the outcome that we got based on that work they have done.”
Party Leader Briceno will be responsible for Finance and Governance; Cordel Hyde for Natural Resources, Petroleum and Poverty Alleviation; Jose Mai for Agriculture and Fisheries; Julius Espat for National Development, Economic Development and Investments; Kareem Musa for Attorney General, Public Utilities and Elections and Boundaries; Rodwell Ferguson for Works; Florencio Marin for Defense, Civil Aviation and Transport; Oscar Requena for Tourism and Immigration; Mike Espat for Public Service, Local Government and NEMO; Orlando Habet for Health and Labor; Said Musa for Education and Social Transformation; Eamon Courtenay for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Valerie Woods for Sustainable Development, Climate Change and the Environment and Paul Thompson for Broadcasting, Youth, Sports and Culture.