President Ali convenes first official Cabinet meeting

President Dr Irfaan Ali meets with his Cabinet
President Dr Irfaan Ali meets with his Cabinet

President Dr Irfaan Ali today convened his first official Cabinet meeting at the Office of the President.

Just days after taking the Oath of Office, President Dr Irfaan Ali on Wednesday swore in 19 members of his new Cabinet.

While the new Cabinet has some familiar faces, there are several new and young faces. These include: Hugh Todd, as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Vickram Bharrat, as Minister of Natural Resources; Charles Ramson Jr, as Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport; Sonia Parag, as Minister of Public Service; Oneidge Waldrond, as Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce; Colin Croal, as Minister of Housing and Water; Susan Rodrigues, as Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water; Dr Vindhya Persaud, as Minister of Human Services and Social Security; Nigel Dharamlall, as Minister of Local Government and Regional Development; Anand Persaud, as Minister within the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development; and Deodat Indar, as Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.

Indar will be working alongside new Public Works Minister Juan Edghill, who had previously served as Junior Finance Minister in the last People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government.

Among the other familiar faces who have returned to help the Ali administration with implementing its policy and plans are: Dr Frank Anthony, as the new Minister of Health (former Culture, Youth and Sport Minister) and Robeson Benn, as Minister of Home Affairs (former Public Works Minister).

In addition, former Minister of Education Priya Manickchand and Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai have returned to those two portfolios.

Meanwhile, also joining Ali’s Cabinet are Joseph Hamilton, as Minister of Labour, and Kwame McCoy, as Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister.

Prior to Wednesday’s ceremony, Dr Ali, immediately after his own swearing in four days ago, had made three appointments. Former President and PPP/C General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo has been named Vice President, and former Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira has been appointed Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance. Anil Nandlall was also immediately sworn in as Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, a position he had held in the previous PPP/C administration.

President Ali had explained the swift move to appoint these ministers – whom he said bring newness, youthful energy, freshness and important skillsets – is because there is a lot of work to be done. These new Cabinet Members have been drawn from the private sector, the legal sector, health sector, and even educators.

Ali had further reminded the ministers and their families that their new portfolios are not an ‘8-to-4’ job, and that they must all be willing to make the necessary sacrifices in the interest of Guyana and for the betterment of its people.