Curtis Dickinson hard to replace – but not impossible, political figures say
The shock resignation of Curtis Dickinson as finance minister today drew mixed reactions from political commentators.
Some politicians said that the Progressive Labour Party administration would be wounded by the loss.
But others argued that the government’s strength in depth would mean “business as usual” – regardless of who controlled the island’s purse strings.
Derrick Burgess, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, said that Mr Dickinson was the best finance minister in a generation and a tough act to follow.
He added: “It will be difficult to replace Mr Dickinson because, as I’ve said publicly before, I thought he was probably the best finance minister we’ve had in the last 40 years.
“To find a replacement for Dickinson, you can’t find so easily.”
He added: “I wish Curtis well.”
But Alex Scott, a former PLP premier, said that the resignation would not damage the Government’s ability to perform because it had a deep pool of talent to draw on.
He also suggested that David Burt, the Premier and tourism minister, could step in as finance minister to fill the vacuum.
Mr Scott said: The Premier was the Minister of Finance before – he could do the job again.
“It wouldn’t be the first time that a Premier has had two or more portfolios.
“I think the current PLP government has a huge amount of talent in its ranks – more so than any previous government. The Premier has the luxury of being able to move that talent around.”
Zane DeSilva, a former PLP minister, said that he was surprised by the news, but declined to comment further.
He added: “I’ve been in meetings all afternoon and can’t really comment until I know the full circumstances.
“I have 100 messages and 100 phone calls – I’m now just trying to find out what’s going on.
“But yes, it is a surprise. It’s surprising when anybody resigns from the Cabinet – I should know.”
Other politicians remained tight-lipped.
Dennis Lister said that he could not address the issue because of his role as Speaker of the House.
He said: “That position means I have to be neutral. I can’t get involved in party politics and this is a party matter.
“I haven’t been to a PLP meeting or event since I became Speaker.”
Wayne Furbert, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, was in a meeting when The Royal Gazette called.
He said: “I’m not saying anything.”
Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, insisted he was “not in a position to comment”.
But he said that questions could be sent to him in writing through the Department of Communications.
Jason Hayward, the Minister of Labour, and Christopher Famous, a PLP backbencher, also declined to comment.
Lawrence Scott, the Minister of Transport, also refused to discuss the resignation.
He said: “That’s not in my remit.”