Hassel Bacchus

Former minister in the Public Administration and Digital Transformation (PA/DT) Ministry, Hassel Bacchus, has been made a full minister in charge of a new Digital Transformation Ministry.

This, after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday split the PA/DT Ministry into two ministries.

The Prime Minister’s Facebook site announced the change yesterday.

Last year, when the People’s National Movement assumed its second term of office, Rowley had set up the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation.

Allyson West was appointed as minister for the overall entity and Bacchus was appointed a minister in the ministry.

Yesterday, Rowley advised President Paula-Mae Weekes to revoke West’s appointment as Minister of the PA/DT Ministry and re-assign her as Minister of Public Administration.

Bacchus’s appointment as minister in the PA/DT Ministry was also revoked and he was re-assigned as Minister of Digital Transformation.

The move returns West to the Public Administration Ministry which she’d held since 2019, when then minister Marlene McDonald was charged.

Bacchus, a former TSTT executive official, is serving in this term, for the first time in a Government Cabinet and is now on his own in charge of a ministry, which has been seen as a promotion for him.

Bacchus held a number of top roles in TSTT, where he had served since its 1989 Telco days, rising from a position of technician to a member of the company’s executive.

He is known as an authority in the telecom field, with capability in the digitisation and digitalisation fields.

Government officials said the ministries were split to demonstrate the prioritisation of the digital transformation process which was being put on fast forward for development, including economic reopening.

They said digitalisation will play a massive unifying role and is tied to a “whole of Government” approach from payment of taxes, including property tax, to reform of land regulations. They noted statements that digital transformation is an immediate project.

The new ministry will bring the total of ministries to 20.

In August 2020, when the administration entered its second term, 19 ministries were announced. The change involving the ministry is the attest in this Government’s second term so far.

In April, National Security Minister Stuart Young was shifted to Energy after former Minister Franklin Khan died.

Minister of Youth Development Fitzgerald Hinds was placed in National Security and PNM senator Foster Cummings placed in Youth Development.