Incoming premier Joseph Easton Taylor-Farrell said he is aiming to announce ministerial appointments by week’s end.
Farrell was sworn in Tuesday afternoon as the third premier for Montserrat in a brief ceremony conducted by the Acting Governor Lyndell Simpson and in the presence of Attorney General Sheree Jemmotte-Rodney, members of the Movement for Change and Prosperity, family and friends.
The new premier, who lead his party the Movement for Change and Prosperity (MCAP) to a five-seat victory at the 2019 General Elections on Monday, will have responsibility for finance, regional affairs, tourism, information technology, culture, and access among other matters.
The ministries which must now be filled are the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, the Ministry of Communications, Works, Energy and Labour, and the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
Speaking to the media following the ceremony Premier Farrell said he is aware that there are expectations on how portfolios will be assigned and “we have to manage those expectations.” He said there are five members and only four ministries and a parliamentary secretary post. His team will begin discussions Wednesday to make a decision on who will go where. “Some people have expressed preferences but that does not mean it will be the case. What we are doing is building a party for the future,” he added.
The premier said it would not be wise to put a new politician into a large and challenging ministry like education and health. History shows this is always a bad move, he added. Farrell said his party’s aim is to “protect the younger ones and give them the support to grow as leaders. We are working to make sure they can deliver.” However, he would not commit to having a definitive announcement by week’s end although that is the aim.
When asked about his position on splitting up the ministry of Education and Health, he said he was aware of the discussions, however he did not believe it was necessary. He said issues are created when ministers want to act like technicians rather than trust those who are employed to execute. “We have to make sure the technicians deliver on the policies established by the ministers. We must hold our technicians accountable as they are capable of doing the job.”
Premier Farrell said he entered politics in 2006 and was highest vote getter. At the time however, he had no ambition at that time to be the leader. He is now grateful that he is here now. The new leader said his government will continue to listen to the people and have plans to deliver programmes to support young innovators. The aim is to invest in entrepreneurs bringing new offerings to the marketplace and not the every day businesses. “We want to reward young people and we are looking for out-of-the-box innovations.”
Party supporters organised a motorcade through the communities to say thanks for the support. It culminated in a celebration in the village of St. John which went into Tuesday evening.