After days of rumours swirling around, Jerome Kennedy made it official Wednesday and left politics to return to the practice of law.
The “Minister of Everything” for Premier Kathy Dunderdale was unusually cordial as he tried to make a case for jumping ship — explaining he felt he had done enough in the political arena and wanted to rebuild his law career while he still had time.
Kennedy was a street fighter and in his time in the PC cabinets of Danny Williams and Dunderdale showed he never met a battle he didn’t embrace.
He was gruff, combative and could never be accused of beating around the bush. His colleagues liked him because he always had his facts in order ... and he got the job done.
His opponents, often the target of his sharp tongue, respected his talents and several expressed the opinion he will be hard to replace.
Kennedy’s departure will precipitate a cabinet shuffle and that is expected to come as early as next week.
The question now is who will take over the vital Finance portfolio from Kennedy. The easy choice would be to put Tom Marshall back in the post for another couple of years.
Kennedy has done all the dirty work in last June’s budget by laying off hundreds of employees and slashing spending at every turn. He is on the brink of having public sector unions sign on for the next four years — bringing labour peace until after voters go to the polls again.
That leaves the door open for Marshall, seemingly a more socially conscious thinker, who could help navigate this failing administration on the financial side until the next general election in 2015 when he also plans to retire.
It would be an easy switch and Marshall knows the right levers to push, and this increasingly unpopular government and premier can use all the easy and safe decisions they can muster.