Jerome A.L. Gander, Contributor
Portia Simpson Miller was like a petchary bird in Bruce Golding's back. Cut your oversize Cabinet, she would tell him, urging the then prime minister to lead by example in lowering the carrying cost of Government. In fact, even when Golding and other government MPs opted for a pay cut, Simpson Miller said it was tokenism and demanded that he go further. Cut the Cabinet, she insisted.
"You cannot ask the country for cooperation, Mr Prime Minister, when you continue to retain your mega-size Cabinet. I'm calling on the prime minister to do the honourable thing: Cut the size of the Cabinet now!" she said in September 2009.
Well, as Prime Minister, Simpson Miller has imposed on Jamaicans one of the biggest Cabinets in the country's history, and after more than a year we are yet to see the need for such a large executive, it is time to take out the shear.
These are the cuts I propose to help Mrs Simpson Miller.
Portia Simpson Miller - prime minister and minister of defence, development, information and sports.
Dr Peter Phillips - finance, planning and the public service.
A.J. Nicholson - foreign affairs and foreign trade. (Send A.J. into retirement and move up Arnaldo Brown).
Peter Bunting - national security.
Ronald Thwaites - Education (add youth and culture to portfolio).
Lisa Hanna - youth and culture (No need for this ministry; plus, the minister could do well with the experience of the backbench).
Robert Pickersgill - water, land, environment and climate change (no need for this dinosaur, who brings nothing special to legislation or policy).
Dr Fenton Ferguson - health (should take on environment).
Anthony Hylton - industry, investment and commerce.
Mark Golding - justice.
Derrick Kellier - labour and social security.
Noel Arscott - local government and community development.
Dr Omar Davies - transport, works and housing (should take on water and climate change).
Dr Wykeham McNeill - tourism and entertainment.
Phillip Paulwell - science, technology, energy, and mining.
Roger Clarke - agriculture and fisheries (Replace him with Fitz Jackson).
Ministers Without Portfolio
Dr Morais Guy - transport, works and housing (housing).
Sandrea Falconer - Office of the Prime Minister (Information) (Hand responsibility to Dalley or Guy).
Horace Dalley - finance, planning and public service (public service).
Natalie Neita-Headley - OPM (sports) (Was always an unnecessary Cabinet position and a drain on the public purse).
Ministers of State
(Having a junior minister in the following ministries is a waste of taxpayers' dollars in the very beginning. The backbench beckons).
Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams - industry, investment and commerce (no need for junior minister in this ministry).
Ian Hayles - water, land, environment and climate change (With the abolition of this ministry, the junior minister post becomes redundant. To the backbench, Mr Hayles!).
Colin Fagan - local government and community development (Having a junior minister in this ministry is a waste of taxpayers' dollars. The backbench beckons).
Richard Azan - transport, works and housing - (Having a junior minister in this ministry is a waste of money).
Damion Crawford - tourism and entertainment (Enough partying from Damion, to the extent that all he does is sleep in Parliament. Added to that, to have had a junior minister in this ministry was a waste of taxpayers' dollars).
Julian Robinson - mining, energy and ICT.
Luther Buchanan -- OPM.
Hopefully, Prime Minister Simpson Miller will have a heart for the people of Jamaica, and have the nerve to stand up to her Comrades and say to them, I am sorry, but Jamaica can't afford your expenses any longer. We can barely afford a hassock, much less a mega-size Cabinet.
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