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David Lammy

Baroness Valerie Amos and David Lammy MP, both of Guyanese origin, have kept their ministerial posts in British Prime Minister Tony Blair's 'Day of the long knives' last Friday in which one third of his Cabinet ministers were sacked or moved from their office.

Blair was responding to recent crises of confidence, very bad results in local elections the day before and a desire to secure his legacy before demitting office prior to the next British General Election due in 2008.

Baroness Amos, born in Wakenaam in Essequibo, stays as the Leader of the House of Lords - a post which she has occupied for three years. Before that, she was International Development Secretary and a minister in both the Foreign Office and the Department of Health. She has been in the Blair Government since 1998 and is widely regarded as one of the last remaining total 'Blairistas' - Blair loyalists - in his Cabinet.

Lammy has been a Minister of State in the Department for Culture Media and Sport since last year. He is, de facto, the Minister for the Arts and for Libraries. Before that posting, he was a junior Minister in the Department of Constitutional Affairs and in Health. Lammy, born in London of Guyanese parents, was a young wunderkind who succeeded the late Bernie Grant, a fellow Guyanese, as the Member of Parliament for Tottenham. Recently, his upward trajectory in the world of politics appears to have somewhat stalled.

Both Lammy and Amos are stalwarts of the Guyanese Diaspora in the UK, members of the so-called Guyanese Mafia, recipients of the Guyana High Commission(UK) Award and regular attendees at Diaspora functions.

Valerie Amos

This newspaper is seeking interviews with both of them about keeping their heads whilst others around were losing theirs.

Blair carried out his most radical surgery ever to his government in order, according to some observers, to save his own political skin. He has said he will leave office before the next General Election and there have been louder and insistent calls for him to name the day so that his natural successor, Gordon Brown the Chancellor, can take over and lead the party to a fourth election victory.

On Friday, Blair sacked his Home Secretary (Minister of Home Affairs) Charles Clarke, demoted the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, to Leader of the House of Commons, stripped the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, of any departmental responsibilities as he is at the epicentre of a Clintonesque 'sex in office 'scandal, moved his Education minister and in general reshuffled the whole government pack in a drastic way. Observers are already drawing parallels to the behaviour of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan who in 1962 carried out a 'Night of the long knives' exercise on his Cabinet.

Fifteen months later, he was out of office. Blair's final hurrah is not expected to last that long; many feel this autumn's Labour Party Conference may be his last.

http://www.stabroeknews.com/
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