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Elections 2007: Cabinet Minister Assignments
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Posted by:May 16th 2007, 11:26:57 pm
Fig Tree News TeamThree Grand Bahama MPs are now cabinet ministers

By LISA S. KING
Nassau Guardian

Three Free National Movement (FNM) Grand Bahama Parliamentarians have been selected to serve as Cabinet Ministers in Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham's administration, a clear indication that Grand Bahamians are being rewarded for the major role they played in returning the FNM to power.

In a nationally telecast ceremony yesterday evening, Lucaya MP Neko Grant was appointed Minister of Tourism and Aviation; High Rock MP Kenneth Russell was named Minister of Housing and National Insurance; and Marco City MP Zhivargo Laing is now the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance.

Minister Grant, who has been a member of the Free National Movement from an early age, remains committed to building upon the many accomplishments of the FNM in office particularly as they impact Grand Bahama.

He was educated at the West End Public School and later attended St. John's College in Nassau. He holds a diploma in Business Management from La Salle Extension University, Chicago, and a diploma in International Management from the European Institute of Business Administration.

Minister Russell was born in Bailey Town, Bimini on October 22, 1953 to Osworth and Eunice Russell and received his early education in Bimini and Freeport, Grand Bahama. He completed studies at the C.R. Walker Technical College and The Bahamas Teacher's Institute in New Providence. He later pursued business studies at Nova Southern University.

Between 1973 and 1976, Mr. Russell was engaged as an industrial arts teacher in the Government-operated school system at Eight Mile Rock High. In 1976 he joined The Bahamas Oil Refinery Co. Ltd and was engaged in a variety of positions with the company until 2001.

Minister Laing received his early education at Lewis Yard Primary School and Hawksbill High School where he was Headboy. Later he attended The College of The Bahamas and was elected President of the College of The Bahamas Union of Students.

Laing completed his studies leading to a Bachelor of Arts Degree in economics from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. Later he undertook graduate studies at the George Washington University. He also received training in foreign investment promotion in Taiwan and Japan.

Other Ministers taking the oath of office and receiving their instrument of appointment are: Carl Bethel Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture. He is MP for Sea Breeze; Earl Deveaux Minister of Works and Transport. He is MP for Marathon; Lawrence Cartwright Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources. He is the MP for Long Island; Sidney Collie Minister of Lands and Local Government. He is MP for Blue Hills; Dr. Hubert Minnis Minister of Health and Social Development. He is MP for Killarney; Senator Dion Foulkes Minister of Maritime Affairs and Labour; Desmond Bannister Minister of State in the Ministry of Legal Affairs. He is MP for Carmichael; and Elma Campbell Minister of State for Immigration in the Ministry of National Security.

They join Claire Hepburn, who was also sworn in yesterday as the new Attorney General, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hubert Ingraham, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette, and National Security and Immigration Minister Tommy Turnquest, who were sworn in last Friday.

Speaking to the newly sworn-in Ministers at Government House last evening, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham reminded them of the oath they took indicating that their mission moving forward is to be a part of the national effort to expand opportunities, promote social justice and increase prosperity for all.

" I seek in my Cabinet appointments to bring to the fore in the Bahamian Government, the full range of talented men and women who make up the Free National Movement," Prime Minister Ingraham said.

"And, our talent pool is immense as will be further demonstrated when the remaining Ministers of State are administered the oath of office next week Monday and when the full compliment of FNM Senators are announced.

" I believe and am fully satisfied, and believe that I need not fear contradiction on this, that I have assembled a powerful team; they promise to do much good for the future growth and development in our people and our nation."

He warned the ministers that in taking up office in the Government, they must remain faithful in providing service to the Bahamian people, a service, he said, which must be loyal and incorruptible.

He then commended to them seven principles of public life as presented in Manifesto 07. They are selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, and leadership.

"You have been specially chosen. Of those who are chosen, much is expected, required and demanded," he said. "I have every confidence that you will meet my full expectation. I look forward to working with each of you as together we pursue the building of a more progressive and productive Bahamas. Congratulations once again."

The Prime Minister then said as the FNM engages in its third term in office, its leaders pledge to implement its trust agenda and to lead the country back to an honest and accountable Government.

Their plan, he said, is very straight forward and that is to restore trust in Government, to deeply strengthen democracy, to guard and protect our national sovereignty, to improve the delivery of public services, to improve public security, to ensure sustainable economic development, to ensure access to land for Bahamians to guard and preserve our Bahamian heritage, to protect and preserve our national environment, to alleviate poverty, to make affordable housing to all, to improve the quality of education and to promote family life.

"In a 21st Century Bahamas, if we are to become all that we might be we must aspire to transcend historic prejudices and break loose from the stereotypical bounds of the politics of race and class division that belongs to a bygone era," he said " That is behind us and we must leave it so that we can achieve full unity in our land with a Government dedicated to serving all Bahamians, black and white; middle class, rich and poor; young and old; able and disabled."

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