THA Reshuffles


THA reshuffle a ‘disappointing sham’.

THE PNM Tobago Council says the reshuffle of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) on May 13 was disappointing, made no sense, and will not benefit the island.

According to THA Minority Leader Kelvin Morris, “Whether you move incompetence left, right or center, it is still incompetence.”

In a press release on May 13, THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine announced changes to his executive council, which included him stepping down as secretary of finance, trade and the economy.

Terance Baynes was demoted from secretary of community development, youth development and sport, to assistant secretary in the division of infrastructure, quarries and urban development.

Joel Sampson, who deputized in infrastructure, now leads the division of community development.

Former assistant secretary of tourism Megan Morrison is now assistant secretary in the Division of Health, Wellness and Social Protection with responsibility for social programs.

Niall George takes over her position in tourism, while former assistant secretary in education Orlando Kerr takes up a similar post in the division of settlement.

Councillor Certica Williams-Orr is now the assistant secretary in finance.

The press release also said Augustine will present his final THA budget in June, and by July 1, there will be a new secretary of finance, trade and the economy.

Speaking on The Minority Report on Monday afternoon, Morris slammed the fact that announcement was made via a press release instead of a press conference.

“Not even an interface with the media as to explain the rationale for the changes.

“But that is how the Chief Secretary views Tobagonians – not even to give us the respect of proper clarification, because we have questions.”

Augustine promised a reshuffle in 2022 and 2023, but it never happened.

“We were told by the Chief Secretary (in 2023) that we would see significant strategic alignment as to greater improve the delivery of this current THA executive. And therefore, Tobagonians began to really look forward to this reshuffle with a sense of hope, of change of behavior, because up to that time, Tobagonians had not seen the change that they voted for.”

He said given most of the changes being made to assistant secretaries, whose roles and responsibilities are not on the same level as secretaries, “Then you would understand that this reshuffle is nothing more than a sham.”

He believes Augustine is afraid to “make the changes where the changes are required.

“And that is quite disappointing.”

Photo: THA Minority Leader Kelvin Morris