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(SNO) — Senator Senator Fortuna Belrose is denying that an alleged rift with the Mayor of Castries was the cause of her being removed as minister for local government in a Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.
In the reshuffle, Belrose was demoted to the position of minister in the Ministry of Tourism, Information, Broadcasting, Culture and Creative Industries with responsibility for Culture and the Creative Industries. Dominic Fedee is now her senior as minister for tourism, information, broadcasting, culture and creative industries.
She told HTS that there were no issues with the mayor in the matter.
“I don’t think there is an issue,” she told HTS. “What we have to do as a government is to continue to look at our local government systems across the country and do the reforms that are required. I don’t think there was any issues per se with personalities, I think it is about a system that we’ve inherited that we want to transform.”
There was speculation that Belrose and Castries Mayor Peterson Francis have not been seeing eye to eye on certain matters.
One of the issues appears to center around an operational review of the Castries Consitutency Council in August which was ordered by Belrose. Francis was not convinced that she had the unanimous support of the Cabinet before proceeding with the matter.
However, Belrose said the government is well on the way of transforming the local government system and in due course Saint Lucians will understand the various areas and rationale used to get the right message across to the people.
In explaining the reshuffle, Chastanet said the changes were necessary to ensure “greater synergy, efficiency and improve responsiveness” to the needs of St. Lucians.