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New Health Minister Plans to Work His Heart Out

All Island Member of Parliament Hon. Jamell Robinson is the new Minister of Health after being sworn in by His Excellency Governor Nigel Dakin at the Governor’s Office in Providenciales on Friday.

New Health Minister Hon. Jamell Robinson (right) accepts a congratulatory handshake from Governor Nigel Dakin. Applauding the moment in the background are Premier Hon. Washington Misick and Minister of Education Hon. Rachel Taylor

Robinson’s ascendancy was made possible through the creation of an eighth ministry, for which the government applied to the United Kingdom and was granted.

Sworn-in before most of the government ministers, other parliamentarians and family members, Robinson said he is up for the task.

Premier Hon. Washington Misick congratulates new Minister of Health Hon. Jamell Robinson

“It is now settling in, the awesome responsibility that is to be the health minister in the middle of a global pandemic, which is COVID-19, and the trust that Hon. Charles Washington Misick has put in me to take on this awesome responsibility at this time. So, I am going to do my best, work my hardest,” he told NewslineTCI.

He said the confidence reposed in him by the premier stemmed from the many years both had worked together in the Progressive National Party (PNP) during Misick’s leadership of the entity, noting that he sat at the feet of the party leader, learning from his many attributes.

“He is definitely a very strong, calm leader who knows how to get us through difficult times. He did it already and he will do it again. And so, for me, I am trying to pattern my leadership style a bit of like what he does, because we are in the middle of a crisis and this calls for strong leadership, as well as a calm hand at the wheel,” the new health minister further noted.

Robinson, who told NewslineTCI that his profession was in disaster management, pointed out that the Health Ministry is a perfect fit for him. He said his first order of business was to get a better handle on the COVID situation in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

He would be closely monitoring the measures recently put in place to thwart disease uptick and to examine them, to figure out whether they are enough or warrant greater tightening.

Ministers and Members of Parliament sharing in the moment

Among Robinson’s immediate priorities are to improve the healthcare delivery system in the Turks and Caicos Islands, make greater progress to the National Health Insurance Plan (NHIP), tackling waste management, create a faultless primary healthcare system and to exponentially improve on special needs, which he said is close to his heart.

For his part, Premier Misick pointed out that the whole premise of applying for the eighth ministry was to spread the work, while removing some of the responsibility from under his aegis, to give him flexibility to focus more on strategy.

“This means that some of the functions under the premier can now be sort of outsourced, so to speak, to the new minister for finance (Hon. E. Jay Saunders).

“And then my responsibility, of course, is to manage the entire portfolios of all of the ministries, but at a supervisory level, so to speak, where I can focus my attention on driving strategy and policy development,” Misick told NewslineTCI.

Robinson taking his allegiance swear

Commenting on Robinson’s appointment, Misick noted: “Jamell is young, he is educated, he is driven, and I am expecting great things from him.”

Saunders, who had managed the health ministry from the new government’s inception earlier this year will now take on the finance ministry.

“The deputy premier will now assume the role of finance, that is to do with the financial management of the country, such as the budget, managing the revenue and expenditure of the government and overseeing boards, such as Invest TCI and all of those other boards that actually fall under that Ministry. E-government also falls under his portfolio, so he would be able to drive that,” Premier Misick said.

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