By Devina SamarooPresident David Granger has completely disregarded calls made by the Alliance For Change (AFC) for the powers entrusted to Minister of State Joseph Harmon to be reduced, noting that his duties and responsibilities are not at all too burdensome.The AFC, the smaller partner in the A Partnership for National Unity/AFC coalition Government, believes that too much authority has been given to Minister Harmon.In this regard, the party called for Harmon’s powers to be trimmed. The AFC had explained that the concentration of the powers of the office of the Cabinet Secretary, the Minister of State in the Ministry of the Presidency and the effective Head of the Presidential Secretariat in a single person is a matter of concern and that in fact, the powers should be separated.Responding to these demands, President Granger appeared to be in full support of the duties and responsibilities assigned to Minister Harmon.“I don’t think that they are so burdensome that he cannot take all three responsibilities. I am standing by the duties which were assigned to him last May and this is what we have been working with for the last 11 months and this is what was explained to the Cabinet retreat in January,” the President said.He also posited that he was surprised that the AFC now seemed to find fault in the distribution of duties and responsibilities among Cabinet members.“We had a retreat of the Cabinet earlier this year and we put out a very clear statement on the responsibilities of all 14 Ministers and the Ministry of the Presidency. So there is a book and it is stated, and nobody made any objections to the duties which were assigned to the Minister of State then and it would be surprising that after two months, people feel that the duties are being misused or they need to be trimmed,” he explained.Notwithstanding his firm position in defence of Minister Harmon, the President said the matter would be extensively discussed when Cabinet meets today.“I have to wait to find out from our colleagues what they actually mean, but as far as I am concerned, there is no overburdening of the Ministry and I don’t see what powers they need to be reduced,” he stated.
Clayton Jones plodded forward, wrists extended out front in handcuffs. But he wasn’t under arrest. The cuffs were part of the 4-year-old’s uniform worn Friday during his swearing-in ceremony as an official Vancouver police officer.The boy’s family and friends, Vancouver police and first responders from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol and Vancouver Fire Department, as well as Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, crowded into the lobby of the department’s east precinct Friday evening to watch the ceremony.“You being here today, I think, is tremendously special for (Clayton),” Police Chief James McElvain told the audience.With assistance from Officer Danielle Wass, Clayton and his brother Milez, 9, raised their right hands and took the law enforcement oath, led by McElvain. Much of Clayton’s attention, though, was on the toy pistol in his left hand.“Boom!” Clayton exclaimed, pulling the trigger.Afterward, he and his brother were presented with badges of their own.“(Clayton) says they are his cops,” his mom, Taylor Jones, 28, said of Vancouver police.The Vancouver Police Department connected with Clayton through the Make-A-Wish Foundation during the department’s annual Shop with a Cop event in December. Officers have kept in touch since — bringing Clayton and his family gifts at Christmas, setting up tours of the east precinct and even visiting him in the hospital.“This is a family close to my heart,” Wass said Friday. “This is what I feel like we can do for him, because we can’t do much else.”