Tue | Jan 22, 2019

Editorial | Deputy Prime Minister Shaw?

Published:Monday | February 19, 2018 | 12:00 AM


Prime Minister Andrew Holness is, it seems, facing a dilemma over how to go about the Cabinet reshuffle he has in mind, especially what to do with the finance minister, Audley Shaw. It is clear that he intends to replace Mr Shaw with Nigel Clarke, his key adviser, who is reasonably certain of winning next month's by-election in the Jamaica Labour Party safe seat of North West St Andrew.

The problem is how to displace Mr Shaw, his former leadership rival, without unduly embarrassing a senior minister and causing a political fallout in his party and Government. After all, despite Mr Shaw's bungling in his previous stint, he hasn't been bad at this go at the job. At least he hasn't tried too many things that would carry his personal imprimatur.

When the Government made concessions on personal income tax, it clawed back the tax expenditure with new taxes on petrol and other services. So, largely, Mr Shaw has followed through on the IMF-inspired policies of the last several years. The fiscal accounts are in decent shape and the macroeconomy is stable.


A promotion


In the circumstance, Mr Holness' option might be to give Mr Shaw a promotion of sorts, by appointing him deputy prime minister and minister of, say, the economy (as opposed to finance), which would include many of the portfolios in the job creation ministry, as well as industry and trade.

Of course, Mr Holness faces other problems in his planned reshuffle, such as what to do with Karl Samuda and Mike Henry, both of whom he would presumably like to send to pasture, and Robert Montague, the national security minister. But passing the Audley Shaw Rubicon is top priority.