Ministers with new portfolios: Clockwise from top left- Drigo, Isaac, Skerrit, Daniel, McIntyre, Blanchard and Austrie
Ministers with new portfolios: Clockwise from top left- Drigo, Isaac, Skerrit, Daniel, McIntyre, Blanchard and Austrie

Joseph Isaac, the Parliamentary Representative for Roseau Central who six days ago declared that he was no longer a member of the Opposition United Workers Party (UWP), and independent, has been appointed Minister of the Environment, Climate Resilience, Disaster Management and Urban Renewal in the Dominica Labour Party administration of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

In a reshuffle of his Cabinet announced last night, Prime Minister Skerrit also named Reginald Austrie, the Parliamentary Representative for Cottage, as the Deputy Prime Minister. Austrie was the Minister of Housing but since Hurricane Maria he has been virtually silent; most statements on housing has been done by Prime Minister Skerrit.

Skerrit now takes on Austrie's housing portfolio in addition to lands, finance and investment.

To assist him with housing and lands, Skerrit moved Johnson Drigo, the Parliamentary Representative for Castle Bruce and former minister of agriculture and fisheries.

In addition to the Deputy Prime Minister position, Austrie has been handed the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. And Skerrit also created a new ministry.

Catherine Lady Daniel, the former Minister for Community Development is now Minister of Ecclesiastical, Gender and Family Affairs.

Dr. John Collin McIntyre now has the responsibility for public works, a portfolio previously held by Senator Miriam Blanchard. Dr. McIntyre is also responsible for water resources and ports while Blanchard takes on planning and economic development.

There were little or no changes to ministries held by Rayburn Blackmore (Justice, Immigration and National Security); Francine Baron (Foreign and CARICOM Affairs); Ian Douglas (Trade, Energy and Employment); Justina Charles (Youth, Sports and Constituency Empowerment); Cassius Darroux (Kalinago Affairs); Kelver Darroux (Information, Science, Telecommunications and Technology); Roselyn Paul (Commerce, Enterprise and Small Business Development); Petter St. Jean (Education and Human Resource Development); Robert Tonge( Tourism- in addition to Culture, previously held by Charles); Dr. Kenneth Darroux ( Health- and now social services);Levi Peter(Attorney General); and Ivor Stephenson(Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health).

So instead of bowing to protracted criticism that his cabinet is too large, Prime Minister Skerrit, by adding Isaac, has moved the number of cabinet ministers from 18 to 19.

Undoubtedly, the opposition will take note of that especially during this period of austerity after Hurricane Maria.