Tobago’s newly-installed Chief Secretary, Ancil Dennis says he will function in the position until he receives his instruments of appointment from President Paula-Mae Weekes.
He says he expects to receive the instrument this weekend.
His comment comes amidst questions over the legality of him performing Chief Secretary duties until that formality is undertaken.
Dennis, who was sworn in by the THA’s Presiding Officer Vanessa Cutting-Thomas on Wednesday at a special Plenary Sitting of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Legislature, says the controversy is of little relevance.
“Yes, I await my instruments of appointment from the President but in the meantime, I have begun holding discussions. The important issues and the business of the Assembly continues,” he said.
He added that once the formality takes place, “all the secretaries and assistant secretaries will have to resign.”
“This is done under the THA Act (#40 of 1996). They will resign and then will be reappointed to the various divisions after we have consulted on the matter. To this end, I have been having discussions with my colleagues, and decisions have already been taken,” the new Chief Secretary told Guardian Media.
Asked if a reshuffle is imminent, he said,” not necessarily.”
Reminded that the post of Secretary of Education, Energy, and Innovation is vacant because of the resignation of former Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles, who also held that portfolio, Dennis said a secretary will be appointed to run that division.
Dennis, who also holds the post of Assistant Secretary in the Division of Health, Wellness, and Family Development said “all is well in the Assembly.”
Guardian Media also spoke with former assemblyman Benedict Armstrong on whether Dennis can perform his new duties until he gets his instruments of appointment from the President.
“It’s an important formality and the secretaries and assistant secretaries are in place until then. When he takes his oath of office, they will have to resign from their portfolios and then he (Dennis) instructs the President to appoint them as secretaries and assistant secretaries.”
Dennis is Tobago’s Chief Secretary until January 2021, when the current THA term comes to an end.