KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – There will be no general election here this year but Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has not confirmed or denied a newspaper report that he is planning a Cabinet reshuffle.
“No, there is no announcement [about a Cabinet reshuffle] today,” Gonsalves said at a media briefing yesterday.
Searchlight newspaper carried a front-page story that said Vincentians could soon see reassignments within their government.
Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party (ULP) was returned to office in the general election in December 2010 with a one-seat majority and Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace said recently that he was not ruling out the possibility that Vincentians could elect a new government this year.
“On a scale of one to ten, … of the likelihood of a Cabinet reshuffle and that of Mr. Eustace that there is going to be a general election this year, Mr. Eustace’s belief is close to zero whereas the Searchlight story will be on the continuum on a number beyond zero. … The point is this, Mr. Eustace won’t be right this year,” Gonsalves told reporters.
He said that persons who predict Cabinet reshuffles “may be right as well as they may not be right because they are things that I have done”.
“So, in relation to this this Searchlight article, … I wouldn’t say whether it is right, I would say whether it is wrong. Just wait and see if there will be an announcement sometime,” Gonsalves said.
“If it is somebody else who had written it who I know may have manufactured something, I probably would have said ‘No, no; that’s a manufactured story’,” Gonsalves said adding that Searchlight, which is generally regarded as supportive of the government, is a reliable newspaper.
Gonsalves said that since coming to office in 2001, he had reshuffled his cabinet from time to time.
“I have done that during the first [term] after a year. I have done it [after a] year and a half, I have done it at different points in time because you look at things and you access and as chairman of the Cabinet, I am always doing these assessments,” he said.
“The reality is that the government has a majority. It has functioned perfectly well past one year in which time the government should have fallen twice, according to the I believe predictions of the Leader of the Opposition.”
Eustace, after losing the December 2010 election, twice predicted that the government would fall: in six months and later in one year.