Newton is replacing the controversial Astonia Browne who has been reassigned in the midst of months of public disagreements between her and the Minister under whom she served, Deputy Prime Minister, Sam Condor. There was also much speculation, mainly based on a letter that was made public, that Browne and former Commissioner of Police Austin Williams were also not “seeing eye to eye”. Williams has since left the post of Commissioner, giving way to CG Walwyn.
Astona Browne (L) and Prime Minister Douglas (R)
Browne meantime has been transferred to the Ministry of the Office of the Prime Minister as a Permanent Secretary.
These changes are all part of the new initiatives that resulted from the controversial re-shuffling made by Prime Minister Denzil Douglas when he sacked Sam Condor as the Minister of National Security back in August, 2011; a move that Condor did not favour and came at a time when he was still expecting to have further dialogue with the Prime Minister regarding possible adjustments in the National Security Ministry.
Condor himself had for months called on the Prime Minister to replace Permanent Secretary Browne whom he said he was finding it extremely difficult to work with because, in part, of her refusal at times to update him on critical matters and because she was also making and implementing policies unknown to Condor.
In the new configuration, Condor will no longer have responsibility for National Security and will also not have police and defense force as part of his portfolio.
He will however, maintain other departments such as immigration, fire and rescue and prisons as part of the new style Ministry of Homeland Security.
The new appointments were recommended by the Public Service Commission, PSC.
Elvis Newton (file Photo)