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By Jason Brown

AVARUA, Rarotonga, Cook Islands (February 15, 2002 – Cook Islands Star)---Many have doubts, but even his critics admit Norman George has lots of energy.

He’ll need all of it, judging by the long list of portfolios under his name.

You name it, George is there.

Outer Islands Development, Crown Law, Justice, Environment, Broadcasting and National Super are just some of the king size responsibilities he’ll tackle. And be tackled about, no doubt.

Only the Prime Minister has as many responsibilities -- more possibly if you take major tasks like Tourism, Marine Resources and Agriculture into account.

Woonton followed a precedent set by former Prime Minister Geoffrey Henry and appointed Henry as his Finance Minister rather than take it himself as PM.

Along with keeping finances in order, Henry will need his best cat handling skills to keep on top of constant criticism from his independent Public Expenditure Review Committee. Helping guide Offshore Financial Services through growing international meows over money laundering and terrorist funds will be another scratchy area.

These three are the heavy hitters of the new Woonton cabinet. Surprisingly, Woonton has kept his cabinet small, limiting himself to five ministers, three short of the maximum eight.

Woonton might be set on economizing. Or he’s keeping places open for other MPs to cross the floor when Parliament sits again.

Not so surprising is that with mega amounts of portfolios under the PM, DPM and George, the other ministers have much face smaller lists. If not always smaller challenges. Peri Vaevae Pare has bravely taken on the huge challenge of Health again, and has been given the otherwise easy portfolios of Internal Affairs.

Jim Marurai must have been doing something right, retaining his Education ministry under the new government. He probably leaves his officials to get on with their jobs.

Henry’s party deputy Tom Marsters takes the Works portfolio, basically a Rarotonga only affair. Oh, and Youth, Sports and Recreation. A pity many of our youth have already left. Recreation might need further investigation, though.

Who Got What

Ministers of Everything live large.

Prime Minister Robert Woonton Foreign Affairs and Immigration Tourism Marine Resources Parliament House of Ariki Police Agriculture Ports Authority Airport Authority Transport National Disaster Management

Deputy Prime Minister Geoffrey Henry Finance and Economic Management Office of Offshore Financial Services Public Expenditure Review Committee Revenue Management Development Investment Board Bank of Cook Islands Cook Islands Investment Corporation Cook Islands Government Property Corporation National Research Institute National Development Council

Norman George Outer Islands Development Attorney General Crown Law Aponga Te Uira o Tumutevarovaro Energy Environment Suwarrow Broadcasting Telecom Information Services Justice Ombudsman National Superannuation

Jim Marurai Education Cultural Development Human Resources Public Service Commission

Tom Marsters Works Youth, Sports and Recreation

Peri Vaevae Pare Health Internal Affairs Social Services Non-Governmental Organizations

For additional reports from the Cook Islands Star, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Cook Islands Star.

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