It was recently publicised that the tourism portfolio will be handed to Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin from July, 01, leaving Minister Cathy Hughes with only the Telecommunications portfolio.
Chastising the government for casting aside Ministers who are performing excellent in their sectors, prominent trade unionist; Lincoln Lewis compared this move to the “mistake” made with the transferring of Minister Simona Broomes from the portfolio of Labor to Natural Resources.
In a letter published in the daily newspapers, Lewis stated that “there has been some bright sparks in the performance of government ministers, among whom are Simona Broomes and Cathy Hughes, and this should be to the government’s advantage to build on, not cast aside.”
Hughes, who confirmed that she would no longer be responsible for tourism last week, said this is as a result of the numerous plans and programmes for the telecommunications sector.
Lewis highlighted the fact that Hughes over the years has demonstrated a vision and passion for this sector and worked tirelessly in the field prior to entering political office.
In this regard, he stated that “rather than allow her vision and commitment to the tourism sector to shape and influence government’s policies and programmes that would redound to revenue earning and national development consistent with a green economy, this portfolio has been given to someone who has not demonstrated similar interest, zeal and passion.”
The successes in the tourism sector over the past year was also recorded by the Tourism and Hospitality Association (THAG), which in a recent press statement questioned the ability of Minister Gaskin to man the sector, given the demands of his current portfolio.
Expounding on the implications of removing Broomes from the Ministry of Labor, a move that was also condemned by sections of society, Lewis noted that “her replacement has done absolutely nothing” for the sector.
The trade unionist stated that presently there are numerous industrial relations matters that beg attention, however the minister has not even taken the time to understand his role, responsibilities, and what are the day-to-day characteristics that embody Labour.
This is in contrast to what was done by Broomes during her short stint in the Ministry, during which time she was able to enforce Laws required for both workers and settle several outstanding grievances. She was able to bring hope to workers.
Broomes is deemed a rights activist and was awarded for her role in fighting against human trafficking by the United States Government.
Lewis in condemning the move, said the ministers have had their passion “pulled from under their feet, like the proverbial rug.”
To this end, he stated that the “government is giving rise to speculation that competency and vision are not important components of its armoury in governing this country, and that the progressive women within the leadership fold will first feel the hammer.”