By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff
The three government legislators who were this week thrust into new ministerial positions are now gearing up to do a bit of portfolio reconnaissance to become familiar with their roles.
Eighth District Representative Marlon Penn will, perhaps, have the greatest workload of the trio; having been put in charge of what is arguably one of the single most important ministries/sectors in any jurisdiction — health.
Asked what he suspects will be his focus in the ministry, the freshly sworn-in minister said: “I’ll need to really get an understanding of what’s happening and where things are before I can make that type of statement. So, I’ll need to get a clear picture from the permanent secretary and the persons in the various departments to get an understanding of what’s happening.”
Penn, however, highlighted the Housing Development Programme which was initiated under his sacked successor, Ronnie Skelton’s, leadership.
“I know a lot of people are still suffering from hurricanes Irma and Maria and still need relief … So, for me, it’s about getting an update on the status, and on those issues and those programmes to bring some relief to the people of this territory and continue to move the programme along,” Penn said.
New role perfect for me and my constituency — Dr O’Neal
Ninth District Representative Dr Hubert O’Neal said his plans as the new Junior Minister of Tourism is to meet with the BVI Tourist Board as well as to visit with stakeholders.
“I would like to go around the territory and meet all the stakeholders in tourism, first of all, to check what their needs are and how the government help in promoting their businesses etcetera.
Dr O’Neal took over the portfolio after last week’s firing of At-Large representative Archibald Christian.
The Ninth District Representative said he believes this new responsibility for tourism will work well with his duty to his constituency, an area he described as “the mecca of tourism” in the BVI.
“Being their representative makes it even better for me because whatever offerings I can do to make tourism better is going to benefit my people in Virgin Gorda and Anegada,” Dr O’Neal said while noting that he plans to enhance tourism across all the BVI.
Not backing down — Maduro-Caines
Like Dr O’Neal, this will be Sixth District Representative Alvera Maduro-Caines’ first go at a ministerial role.
She was handed the Junior Minister of Trade portfolio after it was taken from Penn so he could focus on the health ministry.
Maduro-Caines, in the meantime, said she welcomes the challenge of juggling a ministerial role while still representing her constituency.
“I was elected by the people to work on behalf of the people so work is not something I’m afraid to do … Having this extra portfolio fall into my lap is nothing that I would back down from,” she said.
“I’m honoured that the premier considered me for that position. It shows that he has some level of confidence in me to put me in a position such as that because its a very important position in government itself,” Maduro-Caines further said, adding that she will be consulting with her successor as she transitions into the role.
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