By Benjamin Flowers
This week the new ministers and senators representing the United Democratic Party (UDP) were officially sworn in, marking notable changes in the government’s configuration.
The Governor General swore in the 20 ministers (13 full ministers and seven ministers of state) on Monday at the Belize House in Belmopan.
The ministers were distributed into 14 different ministries, many returning to positions they previously held.
Returning ministers include Minister of National Security, John Saldivar; Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Michael Finnegan; Minister for Human Development, Social Transformation & Poverty Alleviation, Anthony “Boots” Martinez; and Minister for Works, Rene Montero, who will be assisted by Minister of State responsible for Transport and NEMO, Edmund Castro.
The portfolio for Science and Technology was added to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Patrick Faber returns to oversee that Ministry, assisted by Minister of State Elodio Aragon Jr. That ministry also had the portfolio for Culture added to its responsibilities.
Manuel Heredia remains the Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, having had Culture removed.
Pablo Marin remains Minister of Health; however Minister of State Dr. Angel Campos will be assisting with the day-to-day running of all the clinics and regional health offices.
Erwin Contreras remains Minister for Economic Development, but has gained the portfolio for Petroleum. Minister of State, Tracy Taegar-Panton will be responsible for the Investment, Trade and Commerce portfolios.
Former Minister of State Hugo Patt, ascends to being Minister for Labor, Local Government and Rural Development. Re-appointed senator Godwin Hulse becomes Minister of Natural Resources and Immigration, assisted by Minister of State Beverly Castillo.
Gaspar Vega, having been relieved of the Natural Resources portfolio, remains Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture, along with the Fisheries, Forestry, Environment, and Sustainable Development portfolios. He is assisted by Minister of State Omar Figueroa.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, once again holds the Ministry of Finance, Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities. He is assisted by Minister of State Frank Mena.
The senators are: Godwin Hulse, the Leader of Government Business; Francine Burns; Steve Duncan; Macario Coy, Dr. Carla Barnett; and Aldo Salazar. Lee Mark Chang is the new president of the Senate.