Social Cohesion Minister to take up Departments of Culture, Youth and Sport

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By Bibi Khatoon

President David Granger has once again made changes to his Government, this time moving the Departments of Culture, Youth and Sport to the Ministry of Social Cohesion.

The Departments currently fall under the Ministry of Education but will be moved to the Ministry of Social Cohesion from September 01, 2017. This was confirmed by Social Cohesion Minister, Dr. George Norton during a telephone interview with the News Room today.

Speaking about his new responsibilities, Dr. Norton said “Well, I’m not a youth you know, and one would always think that such department should be controlled by the youth. Sports and culture, however, I am anxious.”

However, he added that the Ministry’s Strategic Plan already deals with youths across the country, and he is committed to working closely with various youth groups to steer them in the right direction.

In relation to sport, Dr. Norton said his interest in sport will ensure the success of the sector.

“I was always had ambition of being a sports person. Ever since I was young, I never really stopped…I’m a regular visitor to the gym, so I think it’s all within my interest,” the Minister said.

According to a statement from the Ministry of the Presidency (MoTP), the reshuffling was done to ensure Henry focuses on improving the quality of and access to education countrywide.

The MoTP said Dr. Norton will remain Minister of Social Cohesion at the Ministry of the Presidency, with the new addition to his portfolio. However, his office will now be housed at the Department of Culture, Youth and Sport on Main Street. 

“This forms part of Government’s efforts to ensure the effective delivery of critical public services,” the statement said. 

On June 13, 2017, Minister Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine was re-assigned from his post of Minister of Education to the Ministry of the Presidency as Public Service Minister. As a result, Minister Nicolette Henry who was the junior Minister and was responsible for the Departments of Culture, Youth and Sport, took up the Education portfolio.

Dr. Norton previously served as the Minister of Public Health but was removed from that post at the start of this year, shortly after a controversy surrounding the leasing of the Sussex Street drug bond escalated.

Also taking up a new post from September 01 is Minister Dawn Hastings-Williams.

The President recently announced that Hastings –Williams will be moved from the Ministry of Communities where she has responsibility for the Water sector to the Ministry of the Presidency where she will serve as Minister of Public Affairs.

The Head of State at that time had said that it is a question of his own judgment to continuously evaluate the workload of every Ministry and make changes.

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