Friday, February 01, 2008
More Senators named + Kellman gets a pick
With the Ministers of Government being named a week ago, all eyes were next turned to the Upper Chamber of the House of Assembly to see who would be appointed as Government, Opposition and Independent Senators.
The Governor-General is yet to name his Senators, but yesterday Opposition Leader Mia Mottley named Liz Thompson and Kerrie Symmonds, who lost their St. James seats in the election, as the BLP's representatives in the Senate.
Prime Minister David Thompson later named political veteran Branford Taitt and defeated candidates Irene Sandiford-Garner and Patricia Inniss among his senators during a post-Cabinet Press conference at Government Headquarters, Bay Street.
The others named by Thompson were businessman Peter Gilkes, trade unionist Derek Alleyne, university student, Damien Griffith, Rev. Peter Millington and blind research project officer Kerryann Ifill.
The eight newly announced Government senators are to be sworn in at Government House on Monday, while the Opposition two will go before the Governor-General next Friday.
Four previously named Government senators already sworn in are losing candidate in St Peter, Haynesley Benn, (the Minister of Agriculture); economist Darcy Boyce, management consultant Maxine McClean; and labour relations specialist Arnie Walters.
Minister of Education Ronald Jones was named as Leader of Government Business in the House of Assembly. Unconfirmed reports from The WEEKEND NATION state that St Philip South MP Adriel Brathwaite is tipped to become Speaker while Branford Taitt is expected to be Senate President, with Christ Church West Central MP Stephen Lashley, chairman of committees.
Thompson also hinted that defeated candidate Undene Whittaker would play an important role "in securing the country's Millennium Goals and also essentially the same kind of role performed by the parliamentary representative for St Michael South East [Hamilton Lashley] in the sense, spawned by the same circumstances".
And now to Denis Kellman. According to the WEEKEND NATION, St. Lucy MP Denis Kellman has been asked by Prime Minister David Thompson to lead in several senior parliamentary roles, including negotiations between Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados on the controversial fishing agreement.
"Denis has been asked to take some important responsibilities under his wing, which include continuing negotiations for a fishing agreement with Trinidad.
"And also to assist, because of his seniority in Parliament, in the negotiations of maritime deliberations within CARICOM, and there will be other responsibilities," said Thompson.
"Because of his very important senior role, as a parliamentarian of greater experience, he is essentially taking over responsibilities previously reserved for parliamentarians of that stature."
In response, Kellman told the WEEKEND NATION that "the Prime Minister has prerogative and if he has exercised it, then I cannot complain".
He added he "would have to accept that [senior] role for the time being because those roles are limited. I would like to believe that I can bring some closure to a lot of these matters, that is why I said that".
When asked if he was happy with the responsibilities he was given, Kellman said: "I am not unhappy about anything. To be honest with you, I do what I have to do. I accept what I think I should accept and I carry a very broad approach and a very open mind and always remember that party and country come first."
Alrighty, then. This should be really interesting, Kellman negotiating on Barbados' behalf. I'll reserve all comment for now and give him a chance.
So, by my count, PM Thompson has taken care of 24 (if you count Undene Whittaker's pending appointment) of his 30 candidates and there're still diplomatic and Chairman picks to come.
What I found most amusing at the press conference was the fact that Thompson did not name a deputy prime minister, saying it "would become apparent as time goes by". I have to create a game of "guess the Deputy" we can all play....
Photo: PM David Thompson speaking at yesterday's press briefing. Minister of Agriculture Sen. Haynesley Benn looks on. www.nationnews.com