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Portia set to reshuffle cabinet

Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

KINGSTON — There were heightened discussions in government circles yesterday that a cabinet reshuffle could coincide with the upcoming budget debate.

Dr. Peter Phillips, the finance minister who succeeded in eking out a long-awaited deal to be signed later this month with the International Monetary Fund, appears to be the big winner in the impending cabinet shake-up.

Well-placed government sourcessaid that A.J. Nicholson, the foreign affairs minister, appears to be left out of the cabinet.

Nicholson is to be replaced by Anthony Hylton, who has drawn the ire of senior government officials over his failure to energise the economy in the industry and commerce ministry.

Hylton, who at different times, held the foreign affairs and energy portfolios in former People’s National Party governments, has earned a reputation as an effective minister of this portfolio.

However, the portfolio was assigned to Nicholson, a former justice minister and attorney general and a strong loyalist of Prime Minister Simpson Miller in the aftermath of the December 29, 2011 general election.

Peter Bunting, the national security minister, attracted widespread concerns from sections of the political landscape and civil society, after he seemingly broke down about the unrelenting criminal assaults on the country, despite his efforts to curtail the scourge. Bunting was also an alleged victim of an attempted burglary attempt just over a week ago, that sparked vociferous reactions in the public domain.

Bunting targeted

Sources say Bunting is likely to be replaced by the current minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service Horace Dalley, who spearheaded wage (freeze) talks that culminated in the impending IMF agreement.

Gleaner sources also revealed that the highly respected state minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Julian Robinson, is tipped to become a senior Cabinet minister as his accessibility and communication ability have placed him in good stead. (Gleaner)

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