The new Cabinet meets for the first time on Thursday
ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- On Thursday, one day after the swearing-in of the new 12-member Cabinet, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne convened his first Cabinet meeting and arrived at several decisions critical to the smooth running of the country.
Browne told his colleagues that he expects them to be what he termed “a high performance” team, noting that, based on the seriousness of the problems that have so far been uncovered, he wants them to work 12-hour days in an effort to solve them and to bring relief to the people.
High on the agenda of things to be done is an overhaul of the processes and procedures in the public sector that would make doing business with the government faster and less of a hassle.
The Cabinet also decided on a date for the first meeting of Parliament following the June 12 general elections. Parliament will meet on June 25, 2014, at which time the new members will take the oath as parliamentarians. It will also mark the election of a new speaker of the House of Representatives, to be followed by a new president of the Senate.
Then on June 30, the House of Representatives will have its first working session, when among other things the government will seek to amend the Citizenship by Investment Act introduced by the previous administration. Browne is on record stating that he intends to keep the citizenship programme but he is unhappy with some aspects of the current law.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet has expressed grave concern over the manner in which the previous administration engaged in the practice of distributing government-owned lands to foreign corporations. The excessive manner in which the prior administration acted was not in the best interest of the people of Antigua and Barbuda, according to a Cabinet spokesman.
In that regard, the Cabinet has requested that the cabinet secretary provide members with copies of the minutes and decisions made by the Baldwin Spencer-led Cabinet over the past six months. Cabinet wants to review these decisions and minutes so as to get an understanding of the rationale for entering into the decisions in question.
The Cabinet is also calling on all political appointees under the UPP administration to offer their resignations with immediate effect. Additionally, the Cabinet has rescinded an eleventh-hour decision by the Spencer administration to make permanent the appointment of several hundred political appointees.
“Under established practices, political appointees tender their resignation when a new administration takes office. Unfortunately, some UPP appointees are clearly refusing to follow these centuries’ old practices,” the spokesperson noted.
The Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda will meet on Wednesdays weekly.