The minister with responsibility for information, Sandrea Falconer, yesterday deflected questions as to the reason for the reassignment for Junior Minister Ian Hayles.
The Office of the Prime Minister on Monday announced that Hayles, who was appointed minister of state in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, has been reassigned to the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change.
Asked what was the rationale for the transfer, Falconer said: "The prime minister is at liberty to reassign ministers and ministers of state if she so wishes and the prime minister has made that decision."
Pressed further, Falconer said: "The prime minister has felt that he needed to go to another ministry and I think we will leave it at that."
Hayles and Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke were said to have had a rocky relationship at the ministry.
Both men have denied there is a rift, even though government insiders said the relationship deteriorated to the point where both men were at daggers drawn.
The Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) is raising serious concerns about the threat to competitiveness of Caribbean rum in the United States market.
According to COTED, this threat arises from the massive subsidies provided by the governments of the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to multinational rum producers in those territories.
"The nature and scale of these subsidies are such that they threaten to distort rum markets not only in the US but elsewhere," said the council in a recent statement at the 35th meeting of CARICOM in Georgetown, Guyana.
The council is pushing for a collective effort on the part of CARICOM states to pursue "all avenues available to secure a resolution of this matter that restores the competitive balance in the marketplace".