President David Granger has announced that Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton will, as of September 1, assume responsibility for Culture Youth and Sport, allowing Minister of Education, Ms. Nicolette Henry to focus on improving the quality of and access to education countrywide.
In a statement, the Ministry of the Presidency said Dr. Norton will remain Minister of Social Cohesion at the Ministry of the Presidency, with the new addition to his portfolio.
However, his office will now be housed at the Department of Culture, Youth and Sport on Main Street.
“This forms part of Government’s efforts to ensure the effective delivery of critical public services”, the statement added.
In an invited comment, Dr. Norton said that he is thankful for the confidence reposed in him by the President and looks forward to the new portfolio even while he continues to focus on building social cohesion in Guyana.
“I am very excited about this. There is no doubt about my interest in Sports and I have been exposed to the various cultures across the country. In my role as Minister of Social Cohesion, I have been privileged to work with all the groups across the country and so I have an understanding of what is needed already. I have always been vocal about youth opportunities and… I certainly see the youth population as being the agents of change, who can make social cohesion a reality in Guyana and so I look forward to doing my best in both worlds,” he said.
Henry held the portfolio as Junior Education Minister responsible for Youth, Sport and Culture since the coalition government took office. She found herself acting as the Minister of Education following the shifting of Dr. Rupert Roopnarine from that Ministry to the Ministry of the Presidency.
Minister Henry met with staff members this afternoon and asked them to give Dr. Norton their full support. She thanked them for their service to her, for the years that she held the portfolio.
She had received criticism from a number of quarters for various slip ups during Guyana’s jubilee celebrations.
Although her course of study and experience has been in public health, she found herself with the Youth, Sport and Culture portfolio, following the 2015 elections.
As Dr. Rupert Roopnarine became ill and scaled down on his activities as Education Minister, she found herself taking on many of the responsibilities of the Education sector.