In her Government’s bid to ensure an Opposition voice in the Parliament after the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLPs) 30-0 whitewash over the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in Thursday’s general election, Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced there would be a Constitutional amendment to enable the DLP to recommend two appointments to the Senate.
“We have discussed the need for an urgent amendment of the Constitution to allow the Opposition political party, securing the highest number of votes, to recommend two appointments to the Senate because we believe that, even though there has been no official Leader of the Opposition, my Government would wish to have accomodated the views of the main Opposition party securing the largest amount of votes. In this instance, we are effectively speaking about the Democratic Labour Party,” she said yesterday.
Mottley said it was only fair to the country that the amendments be made “to secure their voice rather than have them absent from the Parliament in Barbados.”
She added: “In the event that they failed to respond positively to Her Excellency (Dame Sandra Mason). Her Excellency will appoint two senators acting in accordace withn the advice of the prime minister after the prime minister has consulted with organisations and interests which we believe to be important to be reflected in the Senate.”
Mottley said the amendment would address both of those issues.
Barbados’ first female prime minister also announced a weighty, 30-member Cabinet and 12-member Government senatorial team, led by BLP stalwart and Queen’s Counsel Sir Richard Cheltenham, who would also serve as President of the Senate.
Mottley, who was sworn-in as prime minister on Friday, would also serve as Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment. She would have some responsibility for national security.
Mottley said her Cabinet would be relatively large and made no apologies.
“I have not only considered the mandate that have been given to you by the people but also the scope of the work to be done and the level of expertise that is at our disposal. Among elected members.”
Mottley said she intended to hold her ministers to high standards of efficiency and will also share their workload if need be.
“I have, therefore, opted to share the workload against a significant portion of the parliamentary group rather than conform to the theory of a small Cabinet, thus creating an unrealistic setting for members to function effectively and to produce in this prevailing environment.
“Given the dire state of the economy and the tremendous work that will be involved in rescuing and rebuilding this county, the salaries of a few extra ministers is relatively insignificant given there will be tremendous savings from the containment of wastage and the curtailment of corruption in my Cabinet.”
She said the Cabinet would reflect traditional portfolios as well as new ones to “embrace new concepts and opportunities.”
She added: “These include initiatives such as the pursuit of maritime exploits in our blue economy, the embrace of people’s empowerment and elder care, the entire concept of science, innovation and smart technology as well as the restoration of the stand-alone Ministry of Home Affairs, which will have responsibility for the police once again.”
Mottley said these were all vital ingredients of the new multi-faceted government she wanted to create.
She said, apart from the Cabinet, key people would also be appointed to resolve issues in critical areas.
“We propose to refer to them as czars. But those announcements will be made once these ministers are in position.”
Mottley’s appointments also included two ambassadorial-level advisors: former Deputy Prime Minister Dame Billie Miller, who is to be appointed Ambassador at Large and Plenipotentiary, and economist Dr Clyde Mascoll, who is to be appointed as Chief Economic Councillor in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment, headed by Mottley.
Cabinet members are expected to be sworn-in today.
Mottley is also to finalise by tomorrow the appointment of a Director of Communications and Social Media to fill the traditional role of Press Secretary in the Government.