Cabinet gets average report card

PRIME Minister Andrew Holness hinted late last year that a Cabinet reshuffle was imminent, and many Jamaicans have been awaiting the details.

The Jamaica Observer took to the streets of the Corporate Area in an attempt to garner the thoughts, evaluations, and predictions for the next Cabinet.

“The Minister of Finance [Nigel Clarke] nuh too bad. Minister of Culture [Olivia Grange], mi think she can stay weh she deh. Christopher Tufton [minister of health and wellness], me woulda give him a chance because during the pandemic I think he has done a great job,” said a respondent in the St Andrew capital, Half-Way-Tree, who gave his name as Jones.

A woman who said she was in her 50s but did not wish to be named, said: “To me [Christopher] Tufton better than the rest, but the rest can go siddung caah mi nuh see dem a do nothing.” Asked why she was impressed with Tufton, she explained, “Mi never vote enuh, but yuh see how him work and tell we what going on.”

Michelle Davis, accounting clerk, also offered commendations to Dr Christopher Tufton, “I see where he has struggled, but he stand up strong and he doesn’t hide from media people.”

While giving numerous members of the Cabinet a passing grade, Shawn brought in Minister of National Security Horace Chang: “The main minister weh me woulda seh naah do good inna Parliament a Chang. Better dem give him a different portfolio. For me, the next one me a seh to a Tufton; him naah gwaan good either.

“A jus dem two deh me feel like naah perform dem task, but me alright with di rest so far. Horace Chang need fi go one side,” concluded Shawn.

In Cross Roads, Annette had this to say: “Di whole a di prime minister and the Cabinet needs to go. Me nuh know weh dem a do. Dem nuh care nothing ’bout poor people. Minister of health him, mi can’t bear fi hear him pon me radio.”

While some questioned the need to switch portfolios, others took the opportunity to take jabs at particular ministers.

“Yeah, change dem yes. All Education Minister [Fayval Williams], mi nuh know why dem give her dat. The Cabinet need fi reshuffle; naah tell nuh lie,” said one young man in his 30s.

“Some people say [Daryl] Vaz is doing a good job in technology, but I don’t see what he’s doing. All now tax still on computers and the cost of Internet keep going up. We have access, yes, but how much better could it be? Who truly regulating things?” asked Chantel in New Kingston.

A female vendor in Half-Way-Tree said firmly, “None a dem naah duh nothin’, di whole a dem a come with dem lying mouth.”

A man who gave his name as Bangy added, “The Transport Minister [Audley Shaw] nuh have a clue as to wah a gwaan a road.”

In New Kingston Trevor said: “The country reach a stage where right now we need a drastic change, but I don’t think it’s [the reshuffle] necessary.”

He added that the members must be made to do better for the citizens of Jamaica.

Retiree Dennis W, for his part, said: “To be honest, it’s a long time [Andrew] Holness been talking about job descriptions and we haven’t heard any steps forward to completing them. Some ministers, like Tufton and Pearnel Charles Jr, seem busy but the others just coasting.”

Yvonne, telemarketer, added: “I like the young one, Pearnel, and the other one…[Floyd Green], I hear he’s working on NIDS [national identification system]; they can stay. Move out Audley Shaw and Horace Chang.”

“I like that Andrew [Holness] bring some of the young ones up front,” said Michael, who gave his occupation as tradesman. “Some of the ones that’s there long time, like [Karl] Samuda, not doing one thing. Let the young one dem learn the work.”

Asked specifically about the performance of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, three respondents indicated that she had done well. One, however, said: “She nice, but I don’t know what she been doing.”

Many would-be respondents showed disinterest when asked about the possible Cabinet reshuffle, some were unable to recall accurately which ministers held certain portfolios, while one female student who asked not to be named declared, “Dem things nuh concern me.”

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