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Benarva Browne, 33,  as she was sworn in as minister of urban development, energy, seaport development, seaport administration, Grenadine affairs and local government at Government House, on Wednesday, July 12, 2023.
Benarva Browne, 33, as she was sworn in as minister of urban development, energy, seaport development, seaport administration, Grenadine affairs and local government at Government House, on Wednesday, July 12, 2023.
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Benarva Browne, 33, was on Wednesday morning sworn in as minister of urban development, energy, seaport development, seaport administration, Grenadine affairs and local government, as informed sources had informed iWitness would be the case.

She took the oath of allegiance, oath of office and oath of secrecy at Government House on Wednesday during a ceremony presided over by Governor General Dame Susan Dougan.

Browne, 33, who holds a  undergraduate and master’s degree in town and country planning from the University of the West of England, will take the oath as a senator on Thursday, when parliament meets for the first time at the new temporary parliament building in Glen. 

“This is wonderful; absolutely wonderful. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to officiate here this morning,” Dame Susan said. 

She congratulated Browne on her appointment as senator and minister of government, saying it is a proud moment for the senator, her parents, relatives, friends and “your old teachers — me,” said Dame Susan, a retired principal of the Girls High School. 

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“You have distinguished yourself and I know that you are placed in a position where you are going to excel even further. You are young, intelligent, involved in nation building and now you are given the opportunity to translate your training into practical ways of doing things,” the governor general said.

She wished Browne success and quoted the Girls High School motto, “Per Ardua Ad Alta (Through Difficulty to Heights).”

Browne is replacing Julian Francis, 71, in the senator and as minister.

Francis, who has been a senator since April 2001, demitted office on Tuesday, one years after suffering a stroke that kept him away from Parliament for all but two of the sessions.

Francis has been appointed as a special advisor to the government, effective today.

The governor general, a former Cabinet secretary under the ruling Unity Labour Party administration, also thanked Francis for his “unwavering support in service to the government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“And this is over 20 years, but you have served in other capacities I know, as banker and in other areas. But you still have skills. You are not one to sit down idly, so we will be calling on you from time to time,” she said of the senator, who was present at the swearing in ceremony.

“I know it is a challenging time for all of us because there is so much to grapple with globally and I know that your contribution was invaluable, Minister Francis, to everyone in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Dame Susan said. 

She noted that young women are coming to the fore and are giving service in areas that were traditionally male-dominated.

The head of state further said she was happy that many of them have come back to SVG to strengthen national initiatives and give back service.

She said it is important that although some would go overseas and have to go overseas, they can contribute to national service.

“The road is not going to be easy, it is a challenge anywhere you go but I know you can summon these challenges. God bless you,” the governor general said. 

In his remarks, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves congratulated Browne on her appointment. 

He noted her portfolios adding, “she comes to these offices which were previously held by Mr. Julian Francis, who voluntarily demitted yesterday the offices of senator and minister”.

The prime minister noted that as of today, the Cabinet has authorised that Francis be appointed a special advisor to the government.

Gonsalves said Browne is highly trained in the areas of urban planning, urban development and spatial planning — which includes urban and rural development.

He said that even while pursuing her studies, Browne has been doing consultancy work and has had more than a working knowledge of many of the urban development projects in SVG

The prime minister said the new senator comes from a family of professionals and is a child of the education revolution.

“Before I came to this office, I knew her at pre-school up in Edinboro — Auntie Kirby pre-school and when I attended there everyday to take my daughter, they would all come out on the balcony to welcome ‘Uncle Ralph’, because everyday I performed some magic or the other with coins of handkerchief, divorces kinds of magic, which I picked up here or there,” the prime minister said. 

“Well, she would be working some magic with me in the government.”

He said he did not know how many people know that on Browne’s paternal side of the family, he has roots in Chester Cottage and Central Kingstown, though he has lived elsewhere in SVG and his wife, who is also a professional.

He said that one of Senator Browne’s relatives was Roy Austin of Bottom Town, who was the U.S. ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago under the George Bush administration.

“So he has on all sides good pedigree but all of the families I am talking about here come from the bowels of the working people but lifted themselves up by dint of hard work,” Gonsalves said. 

“These are not bourgeois people born with silver spoons in their mouths so they understand adversity from their forebears and in their own lives.”

The prime minister said that in reflecting on the appointment, he thinks that God has selected him for some extra blessing as validated and made manifest through the fill of the people.

“It brought me to a place where I learn from those of the previous generation, (later former Minister of National Security) Sir Vincent Beache, persons of my generation, who are my colleagues, including the main leaders of the NDP (New Democratic Party), who are of my generation…”

The prime minister said he has been given the additional blessing of seeing those of the generation of his son, Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves and Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar to have him around long enough to see the generation after that.

He mentioned among them, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 35-year-old Senator Kensal Peters, who is also a child of “the education revolution”, noting that Senator Browne is a few years Browne’s junior.

“And I say to you there are some even younger who will be coming to the state administration in elevated positions,” Gonsalves said.

“So we are having continuity, we are having the wisdom of the ages and we are having the refreshing ideas of the young people of this country, the children of the education revolution who would over the next many, many years provide leadership for this great country,” he said. 

“Also my blessings are in abundance. It is not often that a country has the leadership which would move and help with all the various generations below and ahead. It is an amazing thing,” Gonsalves said, adding that this is the way the Hebrew people did it, as recorded in the Old Testament with the story of Samuel and Eli. 

The prime minister said the swearing in was special moment in the evolution of the government and country, noting that in the Cabinet there are people like Camillo Gonsalves, who has just gone part his 50 birthday, Caesar who is in his early 40s, Minister of the Public Service, Frederick Stephenson who is in his late 40s, Senator Peters, Tourism Minister Carlos James, who is around Caesar’s age and Minister of National Mobilisation, Orando Brewster, who up to the time of Browne’s appointment, was “the baby of the Cabinet”.

The changes come midway into Gonsalves’ ULP’s fifth consecutive term in office, and are characteristic of changes that the administration has made in the past, as it prepares for general election.

The next general elections are constitutionally due in February 2026. 

3 replies on “Benarva Browne sworn in as new minister in St. Vincent ”

  1. Urlan Alexander says:

    These children of the revolution should be atleast 23 years old. If they are in their 30s ulp must not take this as credit in their favor. It would be nice to pinpoint their role in government and the achievement that they have made. The ulp policy didn’t lay the foundation.
    After all, Ashelle Morgan is a daughter of the revolution too but she is not given any of the accolades that Ralph seems to be sharing around these days.

  2. Take warning says:

    great country fo some ar yo who doing well and EXTREME POVERTY fo the majority ah the dotish poverty poor ones. If some women had good moral and decency about them they will never never associate themselves wid some ar yo.

  3. Ashelle Morgan seems to the blight of the revolution and failed to be the princess in shining amour that she was once touted to be since the advent of the Cornelius John saga. Her clothing seems to be saggy and now soiled with disappointment and represents the spoil child of the education revolution because of her abject failure to live up tp her glory of the revolution.

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