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Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, left, and Sen. Julian Francis. (IWN file photos)
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, left, and Sen. Julian Francis. (IWN file photos)
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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves on Monday announced that the Ministry of Works will be moved immediately to the Office of the Prime Minister and Minister of Works, Sen. Julian Francis, will become a Minister of State in that Ministry.

Francis is also general-secretary of the Gonsalves-led ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) and the development is in keeping with the ULP’s actions leading up to general elections, which are constitutionally due by December 2015.

The announcement, taken in conjunction with statements made by Gonsalves and Francis earlier this year, is expected to further fuel speculations that the government is preparing for early elections.

Gonsalves, in making the announcement on Monday, told a press briefing that he had written to the Governor General’s Deputy, Susan Dougan, concerning Francis demitting office as Minister of Transport, Works, Urban Development, and Local Government,“from today as soon the Governor General signs the requisite instruments and issues the constitutional requisites.

“The Ministry of Works will come under the Prime Minister with immediate effect, and Minister Francis will be appointed today as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Works in the office of the Prime Minister with special responsibility for BRAGSA, Land Transport, the Electrical Inspectorate, Local Government and Urban Development,” Gonsalves said.

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“The rest of the Works Ministry, which includes Roads and the Appurtenances, Sea and River Defenses, Buildings and Works, those would be handled directly by me. Of course, I am the minister responsible for those matters even for which Minister Francis is given special responsibility, but he will have day-to-day over sight of those,” Gonsalves said.

“… since he will be a Minister of State under the Prime Minister, one can anticipate that the PM will assign him other duties from time to time, as indeed I would assign other ministers and other officials duties from time to time,” Gonsalves said.

“Contrary to what a number of persons in the opposition may think, I do a lot of delegation,” added Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, National Security, Legal Affairs and Grenadines Affairs.

Gonsalves said the matters he will address in the Ministry of Works are largely the big projects financed by the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, the governments of the Taiwan and Ecuador, and the European Union.

“That is not going to add a terrific workload to me. In any event, I always say if you want something to be done, its better you give a busy man than a man who is not busy. My experience has also told me that,” Gonsalves said.

“One of the major benefits of this arrangement is that some of the works, significant amount of capital works which are in the pipeline, I expect that we will move with greater expedition through this arrangement; greater expedition, greater effectiveness,” he said.

“I know that there has been a lot of speculation in relation to this matter,” he said, noting, “Minister Francis had made a statement, I understand, that there would have been some big announcement at the end of the month, August 31.

“Well I couldn’t make the announcement yesterday because it was Sunday. Can’t disturb people’s Sabbath with an announcement of this kind,” Gonsalves said in reference to comments by Francis on his radio programme that an announcement would have been made on Aug. 31 that would have put the opposition New Democratic Party in disarray.

Gonsalves told his party’s convention in February to get “on your marks”

The convention was held under the theme under them “On Yoh Marks!!! Forward to the Fourth Term. Let the Progress Continue.”

He further fuelled the speculations of early general elections in March, telling a ULP election anniversary rally, “Comrades, when I told you to go on your marks, I wasn’t making sport you know. …

“And I want to say this, as a man, further, from the country, is not long rope that does hang cattle, you know; is short rope.

“And we going gi’ (give) NDP a short rope as we go between now to the next general elections,” he said.

And, Francis, addressing a meeting of the National Omnibuses Association (NOBA) in May told minibus operators to take advantage of his position as Minister of Land Transport to try to organise themselves into a strong organisation.

“I told you all I have limited time left, take it serious. I have limited time left,” he said, adding that ever five years he gives up ministerial responsibilities to take up “higher duties” on behalf of the party.

8 replies on “Elections speculations further fuelled as PM makes changes to Cabinet”

  1. Urlan Alexander says:

    Crap!Crap!Crap! the people of SVG are so waiting for the ringing of the bell that nothing the “Twin Tower” […] do or say that will catch them off guard. So it doesn’t matter whether Ralph reshuffle or Julian has special announcement to make it wont change the price of eggs. People are ready for a change so just give the people their wish and do it sooner rather than later. Fed Up!

  2. I think its an absolute disgrace. Julian Francis is a part of Gonsalves family, he is unelected and has proven to be unelectable. He has been rejected by the people but accepted by Gonsalves which is against the wishes of the people.

    I feel sure and it is my opinion that the country is on the verge of collapse, bankruptcy, and will call an election before the total collapse, because if they call it after a collapse they will stand no chance whatsoever, but if called now they will at the most retain a couple of seats.

  3. Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse
    From the American Council for Drug Education, an affiliate of Phoenix House.
    The following are some of the more common signs and symptoms of drug use. It is important to keep in mind that if a person has any of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that he or she is using drugs. They could be due to a mental or physical health problem. They might also be due to adolescent development (in the case of teens). Whatever the cause, they may warrant attention, especially if they persist or occur in a cluster.
    The key is change – it is important to watch for any significant changes in the person’s physical appearance, personality, attitude or behavior.

    Physical Signs
    Inability to sleep, awake at unusual times, unusual laziness.
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    Cold, sweaty palms; shaking hands.
    Red, watery eyes; pupils larger or smaller than usual
    Unusual smells on breath, body or clothes.
    Extreme hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness.
    Slowed or staggering walk; poor physical coordination.
    Needle marks on lower arm, leg or bottom of feet.
    Nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating.
    Tremors or shakes of hands, feet or head.
    Irregular heartbeat.
    Runny nose; hacking cough
    Puffy face, blushing, or paleness
    Frequent rubbing of the nose
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    Deterioration of hygiene or physical health

    Behavioral Signs
    Change in overall attitude/personality with no other identifiable cause.
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    Secretive or suspicious behavior.
    Car accidents.
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  4. James the lion monroe says:

    peter, if julian Francis wasn’t elected to office by the people, then please tell me ,why is he the minister of transport? Isn’t this a conflict of interest, and further more, why are vincentians letting the Gonsalves do what they want. I thought we live in a democracy.

  5. Is this another ‘under me wing’ or an excuse for signatories to travel together?. Maybe it’s to use someone as ‘bait’ to test a US soil landing.

  6. Congratulations Senator Francis!
    Senator Julian Francis is well deserving of this or any other position the PM sees fit to hand to him, he has oftentimes shown his worth not only as a man who gets thing done, but one that go about it accurately and with a conviction and steadfastness for “what is to be done” in a manner consistent with the need for purposeful gain. It was Senator Francis who singlehandedly ran that glorious campaign that gave the election victory to the ULP in 2010…what a master stroke, and I’m sure he can achieve that goal come next election in 2015. Senator Francis is well deserving of this promotion…Congratulations again Julian!

  7. This further consolidation of power in the PM’s reflects Francis’ ineptitude, on the one hand, and an attempt to more easily shift monies into election projects, on the other.

    I originally believed that the PM would wait until announcing the airport completed (but far from operational) before calling an election, but am now reconsidering given the snail’s pace of work going on at Argyle and the amount of work still left to do.

    The ULP has a strong chance of winning given (1) the ignornance of the bulk of the electorate, (2) the poor performance and lack of charisma of the leader of the opposition, and (3) the weak candidates selected by the NDP.

  8. James the lion monroe says:

    Kudos to the pm of svg. He has the tamarity to pull the wool of decsption over the people of svg and the will let him get away with it. His plan is to make Julian Francis his deputy PRIME MINISTER if he wins the next election.Then he will resign, and that will make julian the next PRIME MINISTER of svg, while the groom camillo to continue the gonsalves dynasty in a few years. If the people of svg do not wake up to reality, then they’re truly screwed. time for a change, vote for country and not for party

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