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PANTON REACTS TO SAUNDERS’ RESIGNATION IMPACT

Government 21 Mar, 2023 Follow News

PANTON REACTS TO SAUNDERS’ RESIGNATION IMPACT

In the wake of the abrupt resignation of his second-in-command, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Chris Saunders, Premier Wayne Panton has announced several changes to his cabinet.

The cabinet reshuffle sees the Premier himself adding his former deputy’s portfolio of Finance and Economic Development in addition to his portfolio of Sustainable Development.

 

Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, has been appointed as Deputy Premier and will retain her two current Ministries of Education and District Administration and Lands. 

 

A statement by Mr Panton, which came after Mr Saunders had announced that he had quit the PACT coalition, stated that under the new ministerial arrangements, Christopher Saunders, MP, will no longer serve in Cabinet and Premier Panton will take on the additional responsibility for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

 

On the appointment of his new Deputy Premier, Mr Panton said: “I have full confidence that Deputy Premier Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, an accomplished Minister and former Premier herself, will provide exemplary leadership in the role of Deputy Premier.”

 

The statement about the new appointment noted: “Today, Premier Hon. Wayne Panton announced several changes to the Ministers of Cabinet in order to create better synergies and improve delivery of results in the PACT Government's stated priority areas.”

 

While Mr Panton’s statement spoke of creating creating “better synergies”, in his resignation statement former deputy premier and finance minister Chris Saunders, pointed to differences with the Premier, although he did not elaborate.

 

The release from the Premier’s Office also said: “Over the past weeks, the Premier has been carefully evaluating the PACT Government’s performance over the first two years. During that time, the country emerged from COVID-19 restrictions, its borders were fully and safely reopened and the economy has not only recovered, it has equalled or surpassed pre-pandemic levels of activity.”

 

Other Cabinet changes announced by Mr Panton are: Hon. Dwayne Seymour, becoming Cabinet Minister for the Ministry of Border Control and Labour and relinquishes his roles as Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary. 

Mr Seymour who was Health Minister in the previous Progressives administration had crossed the floor after the election to join the PACT coalition. 

“Minister Hon. Dwayne Seymour will take on Border Control and Labour where, as an experienced Minister, he will be able to accelerate some of the work already underway and in short order, bring forward recommendations on the Minimum Wage and changes to the immigration points system for permanent residency.”

 

Minister Jay Ebanks, who already has the National Roads Authority and responsibility for Traffic Management, takes over Public Transport. 

Premier Panton’s statement said consolidating all traffic-related matters under the Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure will allow that Ministry to bring forth comprehensive solutions to deal with traffic issues. 

 

Mr Kenneth Bryan retains responsibility for Tourism and Ports. 

All other Ministerial assignments will remain the same.

 

“I wish to thank Mr Saunders for his service and contributions to the Government. I am looking forward to the results that Minister Hon. Jay Ebanks and his Ministry will deliver particularly in addressing current traffic issues now that all traffic-related functions are consolidated under a single Ministry,” Premier Panton stated. 


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