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'Public relations stunt'- political commentator

Published:Monday | March 26, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Martin Henry

Political commentator Martin Henry says Prime Minister Andrew Holness has staged a major public-relations exercise facilitated by the media hype surrounding the Cabinet reshuffle.

"The public expectation to which the prime minister has played that he is revamping, refreshing and renewing government is as far as I can see a massive public-relations exercise," Henry asserted.

He said that apart from appointing Dr Nigel Clarke as the new minister of finance, Holness has reassigned certain players to different portfolios, but there is no fresh injection of new talent in the caucus of Cabinet ministers.


No 'brilliant improvement'


"The prime minister has pulled off a major public-relations coup d'Ètat against public opinion with media facilitating the hype and suggesting that the country is about to see a breakthrough in the quality of governance. I am sorry, this commentator doesn't think that we are about to see any such breakthrough," he told The Gleaner yesterday evening, in the wake of the Cabinet restructuring.

"I don't think we are going to see any brilliant improvement in government performance or governance because people have been shifted around within the portfolios themselves, nor do I expect that Clarke at Finance is going to be a brilliant improvement over Shaw," he argued.

According to Henry, despite "the bluster for which Shaw is characterised", the former finance minister has brought a very steady hand to finance and "a great deal of experience in running the ministry in cycles of administration".

Henry reasoned that if the prime minister was responding to a performance assessment he alone knows by what criteria, he would have judged the work of his ministers "because no such listing of requirements called job description was ever made public". Holness had pledged to provide job descriptions for his ministers.

"People are simply moved from one ministry to another rather than moved out of the Cabinet if they are judged to have performed poorly."