Tue | Sep 19, 2017

6-month deadline! - Holness gives Cabinet ministers time to prove their worth

Published:Sunday | February 26, 2017 | 2:00 AMArthur Hall
Prime Minister Andrew Holness displaying a document outlining the conduct expected from his ministers, during the first meeting of his Cabinet last March.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre), flanked by some members of his Cabinet, at their first meeting last March.
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Members of the Andrew Holness-led Cabinet have six more months to prove to him that they deserve to keep their jobs.

According to Holness, while the ministers were not given the job descriptions he had promised in the lead-up to the general election one year ago, they all know what their targets are and he will assess their performances.

"The job descriptions are actually being prepared," Holness told The Sunday Gleaner last Wednesday during a review of the performance of his Government one year after it pipped the People's National Party (PNP) by one seat in the general election.

"After one year the ministers are settled in, there is no question and I have been evaluating each and every one. The challenge that I had is that we started in a year where they couldn't really say they had the opportunity to plan out that year's programme," said Holness.

He argued that his administration basically inherited a budget from the PNP, and the ministers had to carry out several plans and programmes which were already in place.

"So they have six more (months) to take their current agendas, which they would have started in the middle of last year, to carry through for a full year of their own agenda, and that is how I'm judging them.

"So basically, I would give one year and six months for them to truly achieve the things that they have set for themselves to achieve. And the ministers are well aware. They know what their tasks are and the commitment still stands. After this year they are fully in charge of their portfolios," added Holness.

According to the prime minister, there were several legacy issues left over by the previous administration that his ministers had to address in the first year.

"The legacy issues that this Government has had to deal with have seen us spending time trying to resolve issues that were just left unresolved. Issues going back to even when we were in government the first time (2007-2011).

"Not to make a criticism of any government but simply to say the process of government must be not to leave any negative legacies but to solve the problems in the term," added Holness.

In the lead-up to the 2016 general election, Holness had promised that he would provide job descriptions for his ministers and these would be made public.

At that time, Holness said the job descriptions would focus primarily on two objectives: economic growth and job creation.

"Everything that they do must lead towards economic growth and job creation," declared Holness at a Gleaner-Mona School of Business and Management Leadership Round Table then.

"Failure to achieve those specific targets within the period is consequential," he warned at the time.

According to Holness, the job letters would have had a timeline of two years and six months from the date of their appointment with key performance targets, which would be agreed on by the Cabinet.

Holness has since faced criticisms over his failure to provide the job descriptions to the 17 members of his Cabinet, with some critics arguing that this was just another empty election promise.

arthur.hall@gleanerjm.com