Sat | Jun 6, 2020

Antigua PM re-appoints suspended minister

Published:Saturday | May 16, 2020 | 9:24 AM
Prime Minister Gaston Browne (left) and Athill Dean Jonas (File Photo)

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, May 16, CMC – Prime Minister of Antigua, Gaston Browne, says he has asked Governor-General Sir Rodney Williams to re-appoint Athill Dean Jonas to his Cabinet after a six-month suspension.

In a brief statement, Browne said that the parliamentary representative will now assume the position of Minister for Social Transformation, and the Blue Economy.

In January, Dean Jonas was relieved of his position as Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries after what was termed as a toxic environment between him and his ministry and farmers.

Prime Minister Browne said then that the six-month suspension period was for reflection and contemplation as to how to achieve reconciliation.

“For more than six months, I have tried to dissuade you from taking decisions that are inimical to good governance, and to my government’s policy.

“My attempts have been in vain. Your relationship with your staff in the ministry is toxic, and a continuous decline is evident from the reports that have reached me. The relationship with the farmers is also toxic and deteriorating further,” Browne wrote in a letter to Dean Jonas in January.

But, Jones, in a radio interview after he was removed, said that Prime Minister Browne may have taken his position based on flawed information.

“Well I think the comment was…totally wrong,” Jonas said, adding that Browne had provided him with data “that clearly was wrong”.

Dean Jonas is taking up the portfolio previously held by Samantha Marshall, who in January took over the Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs Ministry that had been Dean Jonas’s portfolio.

Dean Jonas appointment as Minister of Social Transformation and the Blue Economy became effective on Friday.

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