A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Chairman David Granger and colleague APNU parliamentarian Africo Selman would be temporarily sharing the Foreign Relations portfolio, following Debra Backer’s resignation.
“Between us, we will share until a selection is made,” he said
Backer’s resignation takes effect on February 7.
Granger also announced at his Friday morning news conference that APNU parliamentarian, Ronald Bulkan would be moved up to the front seat. However, he would not be given added shadow ministerial responsibilities to those Local Government and Regional Development.
The announcement that the Foreign Relations portfolio would be shared by Granger and Selman appeared to suggest that the die has been already cast against Aubrey Norton, a former Foreign Service Officer and International Relations expert, being called to replace Backer.
The Opposition Leader declined to say who would fill the seat vacated by Backer due to ill health. While noting that the person would be drawn from Backer’s Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR), Granger declined to name those being considered. “Wer have not identified a replacement as yet. We have a caucus with the party leaders and a replacement will be nominated…We are looking at a list of names and it will be prejudicial to disclose the names because only one can be selected,” he said.
Names being floated in recent days are Medical Doctor Karen Cummings, PNCR long-serving member Cheryl Sampson and Agriculturalist Tony Vieria.
APNU Chairman acknowledged that Backer’s departure due to ill health would be a “serious blow”. “She was respected. She was my main advisory on Standing Orders (rules of the National Assembly). She is very knowledgeable. She is a very industrious researcher, very careful researcher and a good lawyer and a good political worker. She’s be greatly missed,” he said.
Granger hoped that Backer would recover and be able to rejoin APNU in another capacity.