Fri | Apr 26, 2019

Samuda is the man to replace Wheatley - political commentator

Published:Wednesday | August 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter

With the recent departure of Andrew Wheatley from the Cabinet, political commentator Dr Paul Ashley says senior member Karl Samuda, who lost his portfolio as industry and agriculture minister in late March, should be saddled with the task to oversee energy.

Ashley noted that there were questions that would be asked of the minister of energy; and the prime minister, who currently has the portfolio, should not remain in the hot seat to answer those queries.

He said that a feisty, experienced minister such as Samuda should take on the challenge.

According to Ashley, the shrewd senior Jamaica Labour Party minister without portfolio should be allowed to manage what was a crisis facing the Government. Ashley is of the view that the problems simmering at other public bodies previously overseen by Wheatley could go deeper than the scandal rocking Petrojam, and could lead to a "potential collapse of the Government".

"This thing is bigger than Petrojam and can bring down the Government. Don't you close the chapter, there is more to come," he said.

He advised Holness to re-establish the Ministry of Science, Technology and Energy, noting that he could not manage it with the plethora of areas under his portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

The political commentator reasoned that it was apparent that the People's National Party plans to carry this scandal with all its might to force the Government to seek a new mandate.

"Holness, because of his tardiness, has given a comatose PNP CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)."

He asserted that the prime minister has the constitutional power to hire and fire a Cabinet minister without giving a reason or consulting anybody. "Why did the prime minister dilly-dally?" Ashley questioned, suggesting that it took too long for Wheatley to step down.