Three days after being sworn in as Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary at President’s House in St Ann’s, Ancil Dennis has assumed the position of Secretary for Tourism, Culture and Transportation, replacing Nadine Stewart-Phillips who held the portfolio since 2017.
A statement on Thursday from the Office of the Chief Secretary said Stewart-Phillips, a former PNM senator, has been demoted to the position of Assistant Secretary in the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development, headed by Tracy Davidson-Celestine.
Dennis' predecessor, Kelvin Charles, who resigned from the position on April 30, has been returned as Secretary for Education, Innovation and Energy.
The statement said Dennis has advised President Paula-Mae Weekes to appoint new secretaries in keeping with section 33 (1) (c) of the THA Act 40 of 1996.
All secretaries vacated their office on May 12 upon the administering of the oath to Dennis.
On Thursday, the President administered the oath of appointment and presented instruments to seven secretaries and an assistant secretary at President’s House.
Apart from Charles, Davidson-Celestine and Stewart-Phillips, instruments were presented to Clarence Jacob, who returned as Secretary for Settlements, Urban Renewal and Public Utilities and Hayden Spencer, who holds on to the Division of Food Production, Forestry and Fisheries.
Marslyn Melville-Jack keeps the Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour portfolio, while Jomo Pitt remains the Secretary for Sport and Youth Affairs.
Kwesi DesVignes returns as Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment.
A subsequent statement from the Office of the Chief Secretary said Deputy Chief Secretary Joel Jack was not required to vacate office as the Deputy Chief Secretary, under the THA Act 40 of 1996.
The office said Jack continues to function as Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary of Finance and the Economy.
However, he is not appointed as a Secretary in the executive council of the THA.
The release said former assistant secretaries Sheldon Cunningham (Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment), Marisha Osmond (Education, Innovation and Energy) and Shomari Hector (Tourism, Culture and Transportation) have all retained their positions.
Dennis, who recently served as assistant health secretary, told Newsday he did not take the tourism portfolio “for any specific reason. “But you would realise that given the circumstances, we didn’t want too many disruptions. So, every secretary was given the opportunity to continue in their previous portfolios.”
However, Dennis said some divisions were under-performing.
“There may have been some areas of concern, some areas where I felt some divisions were not delivering as expected and, therefore, I will monitor that closely and give the necessary support and encouragement to ensure that we have improved performance over the next few months.”