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Tuesday 17 September 2019
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Busy first week for new Public Administration Minister

Minister in the Finance Ministry Allyson West
Minister in the Finance Ministry Allyson West

NEW Public Administration Minister Allyson West said she has had a busy week since taking up the position last Wednesday.

She was appointed after former public administration minister Marlene McDonald was fired when she was charged with attempting to defraud the government.

West provided an update on her first week in a phone interview with Newsday.

"I am settling in slowly but surely."

She said she has been going through paperwork, doing lots of reading and meeting heads of divisions and different units to agree on the way forward.

"There are a number of things different units are working in. I need to find out where they are, what obstacles there are and get my focus factored into the agenda."

West said her busy week has been compounded with Carifesta and having to support one of her colleagues.

"It is a week where I had a few things layered on top of the other."

West, a government senator, had the public administration portfolio added to her previous portfolio as Minister in the Ministry of Finance. Asked how she was handling both, she said she was moving ahead and had a good team of people in the Finance Ministry.

"I keep in touch and give instructions. It is just to settle in, and I am sure handling both portfolios will be less challenging."

She has maintained both physical offices and at times has to move back and forward from Finance Ministry at Eric Williams Finance Building on Independence Square to Public Administration at the National Library, Abercromby Street, though she tries to arrange things so there is not too much moving up and down.

West had previously acted as public administration minister while McDonald was ill.

Former senator Garvin Simonette was originally to be sworn in as public administration minister but this was aborted when news of a 2014 DUI charge was circulated online and he subsequently resigned as a senator. The Prime Minister wrote to acting President Christine Kangaloo last week to have former senator Foster Cummings reappointed a senator – his appointment was revoked last month so that new Communications Minister Donna Cox could be appointed a government senator. Dr Rowley also had Laventille East/Morvant MP Adrian Leonce appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the Public Utilities Ministry.

Leonce told Newsday his new position has been "going good so far.

"It is a lot of learning. And I am doing lot of reading and interviews with the different sector heads."

He said he would be discussing challenges in different sectors and one of the meetings scheduled for this week was with the TTPost board. Leonce had to cut the interview short. as he was receiving a call from Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte.

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