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Cabinet chosen - Appointments to be officially announced at swearing-in today

Published:Monday | March 7, 2016 | 3:00 AMGary Spaulding
Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Andrew Holness
Dr Christopher Tufton
Kamina Johnson Smith
Robert Montague
Daryl Vaz
Mike Henry
Olivia Grange
Shahine Robinson
Delroy Chuck
Audley Shaw
Horace Chang
Karl Samuda
Ruel Reid
Marlene Malahoo Forte
J.C. Hutchinson
Andrew Wheatley
Edmund Bartlett
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Robert Montague, chairman of the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), is expected to be tasked by Prime Minister Andrew Holness to take on the challenging national-security portfolio.

Holness spent the bulk of yesterday nailing down a Cabinet to be showcased later today when the appointees assemble at King's House, the official residence of the governor general.

Another JLP candidate who bounced back to winning ways after his shock defeat in 2011, Dr Christopher Tufton, is slated to manage the health portfolio, though an official list of ministers is yet to be released.

The surprises do not end in national security and health, as Holness continued to keep his ministerial list close to his chest.

Kamina Johnson Smith, one of the voices of the JLP campaign, will travel to the foreign affairs ministry, while Daryl Vaz will stay close to Holness in the Office of the Prime Minister, along with Dr Horace Chang, the JLP's general secretary.

Vaz will be handling the promised economy and growth portfolio from Jamaica House, while Chang reclaims responsibility for water and housing - though now as minister without portfolio - which he oversaw from 2007-2011.

Two former ministers who are not in the line-up are James Robertson, member of parliament for St Thomas Western, and Derrick Smith, veteran from St Andrew North Western.

Holness was still locked in a meeting more than six hours after he summoned some victorious JLP candidates to Vale Royal in what Chang termed the precursor to the announcing of the new Cabinet.

After spending hours with his proposed Cabinet members, Holness reportedly went late into the night mapping out the juniors to assist his seniors in the days ahead.

Speaking with The Gleaner ahead of the meeting, the JLP general secretary predicted what other insiders told this newspaper earlier yesterday - that the meeting was likely to be a long one.

As it turned out, it was.

Political observers have raised eyebrows at the delay in naming a Cabinet more than three days after the prime minister was sworn in to office and less than 24 hours before the senior government ministers were scheduled to take the oath of office.

An insider told The Gleaner that Holness was "obviously facing some challenges".

The source, however, declined to elaborate.

A terse statement out of Jamaica House late last night indicated that members of the Cabinet are to be sworn in today at King's House in St Andrew.

The release also stated that Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and Cabinet Secretary Douglas Saunders had been advised of the appointments.

"The prime minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, met with the members of parliament and senators who will form the next Cabinet," the statement added.

The list of Cabinet members, the Office of the Prime Minister stated, would be provided at the swearing-in ceremony, which will be attended by government officials and family members of the persons being appointed.

gary.spaulding@gleanerjm.com

Members of the Andrew Holness Cabinet expected to be sworn in at King's House today

1. Dr Christopher Tufton - Minister of Health

2. Robert Montague - Minister of National Security

3. Kamina Johnson Smith - Minister of Foreign Affairs

4. Daryl Vaz - Minister without portfolio with responsibility for Growth and Development

5. Edmund Bartlett - Minister of Tourism

6. Dr Andrew Wheatley - Minister of Energy, Science, and Technology

7. Marlene Malahoo Forte - Attorney General

8. J.C. Hutchinson - Minister of Agriculture

9. Mike Henry - Minister of Transport

10. Ruel Reid - Minister of Education and Information

11. Karl Samuda - Minister of Industry, Commerce and Fisheries

12. Olivia Grange - Minister of Gender Affairs and Sports

13. Audley Shaw - Minister of Finance and Planning

14. Delroy Chuck - Minister of Justice

15. Dr Horace Chang - Minister without portfolio with responsibility for Water based at the Office of the Prime Minister

16. Shahine Robinson - Minister of Labour and Social Security