Notes From a Native Son: Reshuffling Sinckler Out of the Cabinet Needn’t Be Painful

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Recently, partly as a result of the continuing failure of Chris Sinckler as minister of finance and prime minister Freundel Stuart’s hesitance in removing him from office, questions have been raised about the constitutionality of a Cabinet reshuffle. It is a subject that will take up a considerable amount of time by constitutional experts such as lawyers, political ‘scientists’, parliamentary historians, legal philosophers and others. However, for a non-lawyer with a cursory interest in politics and in how the Westminster/Whitehall model has shaped Caribbean politics, I find the subject one of intrigue. One person who has added his highly informed, articulate and knowledgeable voice to the debate is Caswell Franklyn. Mr Franklyn has a wealth of knowledge about Barbadian Constitutional law and his suggestion, to paraphrase him, that before the prime minister could carry out a Cabinet reshuffle he must first make seek the approval of the Governor General, the Queen’s representative, raised a number of questions in my mind. I will not be so bold as to challenge Mr Franklyn about the constitutionality of a Cabinet reshuffle in the local jurisdiction, my contention, however, is that if parliamentary politics in Barbados have adopted the so-called Westminster/Whitehall model, then this is strange.

The controversy started because of the state of the economy and the government’s apparent inability to devise a rescue plan. In such circumstances attention obviously focuses on the incumbents in the high offices of state, principally the prime minister and minister of finance.

Nothing that Mr Sinckler has said or done in office has convinced anyone with above average knowledge about the economy that he is on top of the portfolio. This is reinforced by his lack of experience, according to his biographical details on the parliamentary website, although they are noticeably lacking in details. Further, Mr Sinckler was an appointment in unfortunate circumstances by the late prime minister David Thompson. However, prime minister Stuart was not morally or duty-bound to keep Mr Sinckler in office for the duration of the Thompson/Stuart term, nor indeed was there any compelling reason why the recent general election victory could not be used as an opportune moment to shift Mr Sinckler sideways. This, I suggest, is a failing of the prime minister’s.

On the substantive issue of the constitutionality of a reshuffle, under the Westminster rules, a reshuffle is the prime minister’s own responsibility and has nothing to do with the Sovereign. As primus inter pares, the right to reshuffle his/her Cabinet as s/he pleases is one of the few perks of the job a prime minister has. Of course, they can be disruptive to good government and administrative efficiency and should be carried out with enormous precautionary skills and awareness of their impact and destablising effect, but it is his/hers alone, unless the prime minister in any way wants to consult senior colleagues. Given that parliament does not have any formal scrutiny of Cabinet appointments, in the way, for example, the US Senate has or even the British House of Commons under the select committee system, the House of Assembly, the lower house, is often forced to accept any changes a prime minister may make.

As Lord Boateng of Akyem and Wembley, a British Labour peer with Barbadian connections, told a parliamentary committee of inquiry: “Reshuffles are the PM’s primary instrument in dealing with ‘events’, be they a crisis brought on by a ministerial indiscretion, death, illness, or catastrophic or lesser degrees of failure, or a means in troubled times of reasserting the PM’s authority and maintaining the balance of political forces. “They are seldom if ever simply about refreshing the ranks of the government with new and upcoming talent, rewarding outstanding parliamentary performance, and so on.” He goes on to add: “This exalted and high-minded explanation is often given but rarely in my view wholly truthfully. “The decisions made are necessarily highly subjective, not always entirely capable of being justified by reasoned explanation and in some instances are quite inexplicable.” In short, whatever the justification used, the prime minister has absolute power to change the make-up of his/her Cabinet whenever s/he chooses. In fact, the greatest post-war example of a radical reshuffle in British politics, which still remains the standard for Westminster-style Cabinet reshuffles, was that of Tory prime minister Harold Macmillan in 1962, the so-called Night of the Long Knives. In that political bloodbath, Mr Macmillan dismissed seven senior members of his Cabinet with the speed and precision of an assassin. The reason for such a radical move, in which the biggest casualty was Chancellor of the Exchequer (minister of finance) Selwyn Lloyd, was the declining popularity of the government and a fear that voters were hostile to the government’s economic policies. Even now, re-reading the newspapers of 52 years ago, one gets a true feeling of the political tensions of the period. Lord Boateng continues: “Some reshuffles go better than others. Some are undoubtedly missed opportunities, particularly when heels are dug in by the pieces on the chequer board. “But, given the nature of prime ministerial and Cabinet government and the impact of events, in my view it’s not easy to see how if we continue to draw folk from the ranks of parliament, it might be readily reformed.” Therefore the prime minister, under our current system, unlike that of the US presidential system, cannot draw on unelected persons to hold high ministerial office. Ministers should be present in the lower house to answer to members, the elected representatives of the people.

As Ben Bradshaw, former Labour Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport told the same committee of inquiry in rejecting the right of parliament to interfere with ministerial appointments: “Prime ministers have to have the freedom to appoint and fire ministers for which they are ultimately responsible.
“Their freedom of movement is restrained enough by the need to balance their government politically and keep ‘big beasts’ happy…” And British-born Australian-based politics professor Keith Dowding, told the same committee: “ There is no evidence that high (Cabinet) turnover affects the delivery of policy. Ministers do not deliver policy; civil servants do.” He goes on: “The ability of the prime minister to shuffle at will (subject to political and practical constraints) enhances her authority. To have constitutional constraints on that ability would hamper both prime ministerial authority and parliamentary accountability.” He adds: “High ministerial turnover might have some deleterious effects on the capacity of the government and the civil service to produce and implement policy. “However, the disadvantages of taking away parliamentary and prime ministerial discretion to remove or shuffle ministers due to political or administrative contingencies would be far worse. “It should not be assumed that within the constraints with which they operate prime ministers are not trying to run an efficient government.”

Cabinet reshuffles should remain the prime minister’s key instrument of managing government. And, if there is a constitutional brake on how s/he could best do this then the constitution is in effect impeding our parliamentary democracy. I suspect prime minister Stuart is aware of this and for obstinate and/or political reasons is refusing to move Mr Sinckler who is neither equipped through occupational experience (working for an NGO does not prepare one to be a finance minister), training (a post-graduate degree in trade only goes part of the way) or demonstrable capability (just look at his performance in office).
A failing minister left in office for too long becomes stale and runs out of ideas unless s/he has a particular passion and commitment to his/her portfolio – Cameron Tudor at education is a good local example. Of course, on assuming office, the prime minister – the person who the majority party elects as leader – presents him/herself to the Sovereign (governor general) to establish a claim to form the new government. But that act is one of assuming office as a government, not one of the Sovereign approving individual ministerial appointments. Although the ministerial Code states that it is a prerogative power of the prime minister to recommend to the Sovereign the appointment, dismissal and acceptance of resignation of ministers and to determine the membership of Cabinet and Cabinet committees….” it nevertheless goes on to say the prime minister is responsible for the overall organisation of the Executive and the allocation of functions between ministers in charge of departments.” Sir Jeremy Heywood, secretary of the Cabinet, told the committee of inquiry: “”..reshuffles of Cabinet are primarily political events, driven by the prime minister’s own views…..(D)uring a reshuffle, the Cabinet secretary may need to advise the prime minister on three broad areas: First, the number of ministers and the balance of Commons and Lords ministers….”, second, pressures on departments and third, likely conflicts of interests. No need to advise the PM to seek Sovereign approval.

In short, the recommendation to the Sovereign (in our case the governor general) is just functionary and there is no constitutional power to reject the prime minister’s recommendation. As Professor Dowding reminds us: “I see no need for the hiring and firing of ministers to be put on a statutory footing. There are no problems that emerge in the UK that do not exist in other countries. Parliament could be given a role in endorsing each ministerial appointment, but in a single-party government that would be largely ceremonial….”

For further reading, see Samuelk Berlinski, et al Accounting for Ministers: Scandal and Survival in British Government 1945-200

74 thoughts on “Notes From a Native Son: Reshuffling Sinckler Out of the Cabinet Needn’t Be Painful

  1. Pingback: Notes From a Native Son: Reshuffling Sinckler Out of the Cabinet Needn’t Be Painful | Black In Barbados

  2. EXACTLY !

    Pres Ken

    your comment/question is Bang on

    Talk is not going do it
    There are some people who dont care about nobody

    Wha’ Nicholas Brancker know about Tourism to be deputy chairman
    what is his degree in

    West Indies cricketer Samuels batted too slow
    causing us a semifinal berth–Bravo out scored him
    two to one

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagga -muses
    I believe the French side is the best side
    The Dutch side is good too
    St. Maarten/St. Martin-co existence
    Barney Lynch says -March/Protest/Unions-jokers/Clarke is a shite

  3. Dig for the nuggets in my comments
    You are not going get my thoughts
    freely/yuh must do a lil work
    serious issues raised in my comment –clear away the brush/dleberate and discover the gold nuggets as -Clarke is a shite and Nicholas Brancker

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagga –TEASES
    Infuriates and laughs all the way to the Bank–Hall Cross Roads
    where he calls home.
    Frank Worrell’s boyhood home in sight from on high

  4. Its always good to hear Hal Austin’s take on the issues of the day. In this piece on reshuffling the Barbados Cabinet I wish he was bold enough to say that Caswell Franklin, regardless of his knowledge of Barbadian Constitutional Law, is talking nonsense, when he suggests a Barbadian Prime Minister must get approval from the Queen to make a decision about who to include or exclude from his cabinet. I cant believe that in this day and age we still have some royalists lurking in the background waiting for the woman in England to tell us what to do.

    I hope too that Hal don’t fall for the idea that the man in the street don’t know or understand how the system under which they spent their whole lives works.

    Hal knows that we had persons to high cabinet office both in England and in Barbados who were not elected members of Parliament. If my memory serves me right Lord Home or Sir Alex Douglas-Home was leader of the Tory Party and British Prime Minister from October 1963 to October 1964 while sitting in the House of Lords, both positions to which he was unelected by the public. Our present Foreign Minister is not an elected member of Parliament.

    My last point is to disagree with my esteem friend Hal that you must have a degree in this or that to adequately perform your duty. Maybe I am beginning too high by noting that John Maynard Keynes wrote a book on economics and told governments how to manage their economies and he did not study economics at university. He was not an economist until he became one. I always remember Patrick Moore(Sir), The Sky at Night guy, who was a great scientist and never studied at any university. Lets not forget CLR James who was a great historian and never went to any university to study history. So lets not get too strung up on pieces of paper to the exclusion of a functioning brain. In that respect Chris Sinckler is not out of place.

  5. Maybe the Prime Minister left Sinckler in place to seal his fate, knowing full well what had to be done. Does anyone think he will ever be Prime Minister now? He has got to be the most hated man in Barbados right now.

  6. @ John
    As you know, I have enormously respect for your legal brain – admitted to three bars is no mean achievement – but you have made one or two slight mistakes: Sir Alex was indeed a Lord of the Realm, but he gsve it up to return to the lower house and lead the Tories. You may remember Tony Blair did the same. The prime minister must come from the lower house.
    Prime minister David Cameron, although an Eton-educated aristocrat, sits for an Oxfordshire constituency.
    But you are right. There are some idiots who believe you must have a degree to speak on a subject, law for example.
    The greatest historian in the English-speaking Caribbean and our only world-class political philosopher, CLR James, did not have as degree; Sir Isaiah Berlin, the great philosopher, never wrote a book; and Richard Titmus the father of British social policy and professor at the London School of Economics, did not have a degree.
    People who are obsessed with degrees ad certificates, are hiding their ignorance behind qualifications.
    Keep up the good work, John.

  7. THIS too will pass.

    Perhaps the government’s apparent inability to devise a rescue plan, is explained by the PMs remarks quoted in today’s Advocate article quoting his remarks at the final in a series of receptions held at his official residence Ilaro Court on Wednesday evening to thank loyal visitors to the country.

    The Prime Minister said that in spite of the challenges the country continues to provide a level of service to those who live and those who visit Barbados.

    “Because this country has learnt not to mistake a moment in time for an eternity. This too will pass. And we do not see what we are going through as a problem; we see it as a test of the national character. And when this nation’s character is tested we make sure that we pass that test,” he asserted.

    This Prime Minister too will pass; but can the country survive another four years?

  8. Tony Benn inherited a peerage and as a Peer of the Realm had to give up his seat in the Commons.He campaigned for his right to give up the peerage and as a result of the Peerage Act of 1963,returned to the Commons.Alec Douglas-Home was able to re-enter the Commons as a result of the work of Tony Benn.
    On the matter of degrees,one of the foremost organists in the world Nicolas Kynaston has no university degree in music yet he is held in awe and reverence in this fine art.

  9. A very good contribution…..the discussion of a cabinet reshuffle is especially important at this time. My concerns are, what recourse do we as the electorate have, after electing a government and are not satisfied with their performance? Is there not any clause in the constitution or law that gives us the right to legally file a document to the Prime Minister or Governor General asking for the removal of any minister(s) in whom we have lost confidence? What gives the Prime Minister the right to ignore the cries of those persons who are asking for a change, but at election time he would want us to listen to him in his quest for re-election?

    For example, so far it has been proven that Chris Sinckler has been a failure as Minister of Finance. These sentiments have been “endorsed” by the Governor of the Central Bank, the international rating agencies and financial institutions, various spokespersons from the economic and accounting professions, the private sector and from within his own party by the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. David Estwick. Additionally, Sinckler (as Donville Inniss) is famous for his bombastic, arrogant, bullying and insulting behavior towards his critics. What recourse do we have against Sinckler who was elected by us and in whom we have lost confidence due to his lack of performance in his portfolio and his unruly behavior, and against the back ground of a Prime Minister who is aware of our concerns and refuses to do anything about it?

    However, Sinckler’s supporters/apologists are quick to respond that he was dealt a bad hand as the result of the current economic crisis, as well as the debt and so called “mess” he inherited from the BLP.

    As it relates to the “mess” and claims of corruption, the DLP has not, after 6 years in office, brought to fore any evidence of this alleged corruption [except in innuendo], and no one has been brought before the court.
    Interestingly, amidst these corruption claims leveled at the BLP, David Thompson, in 2008, promised to introduce a Ministerial Code of Conduct, which was to take immediate effect after a DLP government was elected, [the main purpose of which was to define a framework to establish a bond of trust between the Government and the citizens of Barbados, and was also described as being a “code of ethics and procedural guidance for persons who assume ministerial office in a new DLP government.”], and the much touted Integrity and Freedom of Information Legislation, promised within 100 days of being elected in 2008. After 6 years, these proposals are yet to be introduced.

    If one were to carefully analyse both these DLP proposals, without bias, in conjunction with their performance and behaviour in office so far, you cannot help but to conclude that the DLP has not operated with the framework of their promises, which in my view has eroded the trust they sought to acquire of Barbadians. As such, the status quo remains the same. In the absence of these standards, what other legislation is there to prevent the DLP from doing what they accused the BLP doing?

    A reshuffle of the entire cabinet is imminent.

  10. President Harry Truman also governed what is arguably, the great nation on the planet with a high school diploma. And with the knowledge associated with that diploma; made what is considered a crucial decision to dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. That brought that unconscionable war to a decisive ended.

  11. For lexophiles only

    A bicycle cannot stand alone; it is two tired.
    A will is a dead giveaway.
    Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
    A backward poet writes inverse.
    In a democracy it’s your vote that counts; in feudalism, it’s your Count that votes.
    A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.
    If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.
    With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.
    Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I’ll show you A-flat miner.
    When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
    The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.
    A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France and resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.
    You are stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.
    Local Area Network in Australia : The LAN down under.
    A calendar’s days are numbered.
    A boiled egg is hard to beat.
    He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
    The short fortune teller who escaped from prison: a small medium at large.
    Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end
    When you’ve seen one shopping centre you’ve seen a mall.

    21 If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.

    When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she’d dye.
    Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
    Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.
    Acupuncture: a jab well done.
    Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet.

    27.. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian ..

    She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still.
    A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
    No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.
    A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
    Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
    A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
    Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
    Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, ‘You stay here, I’ll go on a head.’
    I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
    A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab centre said: ‘Keep off the Grass.’
    The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
    When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
    Don’t join dangerous cults: Practice safe sects.

  12. Just like politics, religions and cultures insisting on certification and degrees to survive on this earth is man-made mischief.

  13. GP

    Thanks – I needed that

    Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He’s all right now

  14. Well Well

    In certain instances, culture must insisting upon credentials because I certainly do not want a self- taught doctor to examine me for a condition such as cancer. It’s all predicated upon the qualified opinion, if there is to be any trust.

  15. How does one reshuffle an eminent Minister of Finance ?

    Especially in light of the fact that such eminent endorsement came from the PM – the one who has to make the reshuffle ( if ever ) ?

    Keep up the good work .. EMINENT Hon. Christopher Sinckler – MP
    Minister of Finance – Extraordinaire

    You are SIMPLY the BEST !

    Tell Hal ….that a million Frenchmen can’t be wrong !

  16. Due Diligence | April 4, 2014 at 5:10 PM |
    Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He’s all right now

    thanks! do you think that the GP patched him up? LOL LOL MURDAH

  17. The unions are bellyaching about the inhumane treatment of government workers. Maybe they have now heard that Mr Stinkliar and Mr Skin Teeth were overheard bragging that they tricked the unions. Maybe Fumble has heard too that these two were laughing their heads off at the idiotic union leaders and wants to teach the liar a lesson.

  18. ha…..ha…….. reshuffle ……..the Blp malcontents,,,,,,,still living in a dream world,,,, all this long talk and “hal…….abulooo,,,,,,,with an estwick agenda attached………anyhow in the meanwhile getting it real and closer to home,,,,,,,the real reshuffle has already started in the blp with the tail reshuffling the head,,,,,,,and none of the yardfowls saying a word………

  19. Ok Hal Austin, I will split the difference with you on Sir Alex Douglas-Home.:

    “Even so, he rejected his peerage on 23 October 1963 and became Sir Alec Douglas-Home. On 7 November he contested and won the constituency of Kinross and West Perthshire – but for the 2 weeks in between he was a Prime Minister who belonged to neither the House of Commons nor the House of Lords.”

  20. Well Well

    I am suppose to laught at your jokes? You’re hilarious girl; never met anyone with your sense of humour. Hahahaha! lol

  21. Well Well

    Now say something intelligent and shock me? Because I am hanging on the edge of a cliff, awaiting your response.

  22. Well Well
    please dont encourage donkey dopey
    i think you are giving the fella an organism (orgasm )
    you know how he likes his malapoprisms

  23. FracturedBLP: You said
    “Keep up the good work .. EMINENT Hon. Christopher Sinckler – MP
    Minister of Finance – Extraordinaire

    You are SIMPLY the BEST !

    Tell Hal ….that a million Frenchmen can’t be wrong !”
    But, let muh tell yuh ” Nuff Bajan surely ain’t wrong” We scarcely speak french. Yuh betta guh tuh France.

  24. “In short, the recommendation to the Sovereign (in our case the governor general) is just functionary and there is no constitutional power to reject the prime minister’s recommendation”

    The Prime Minister shall keep the Governor General fully informed concerning the general conduct of the government of Barbados and shall furnish the Governor General with such information as the Governor General, acting in his discretion may request with respect to any particular matter relating to the government of Barbados.

    Assignment of responsibilities to Ministers

    Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Governor General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, may, by directions in writing, assign to the Prime Minister or any other Minister responsibility for any business of the Government, including the administration of any department of the Government:

  25. Hal. During the estimates, Estwick stated that he voted party because it would have affected civil servants pay and it would have taken months if an election was called. However, we still have the budget to contend with and based on the Westminster system, an election or an alternative is eminent if the parliamentary vote is defeated. See below:-

    “The head of government, usually called the Prime Minister, must be able to either control a majority of seats within the lower house, or to ensure the existence of no absolute majority against his or her government. If the parliament passes a motion of no confidence or if the government fails to pass a major bill such as the budget, then the government must either resign, so that a different government can be appointed, or seek a parliamentary dissolution so that new elections may be held in order to re-confirm or deny their mandate.”

    At least the Appropriation Bill has been passed paving the way for payments of money for salaries and services. This might give Estwick the autonomy to make his decision either to stay with the Government, become an Independent or join another party. As I see it, with endless discontent within both parties, we might see a formation of parliamentarians from both parties establishing a third party which would not be a problem waiting approval from the head of state since the party with the majority will be able to form the government and the appointment of a Prime Minister that the Head of State would have no alternative but to give his seal of blessing.

  26. I agree with John Moore regarding a Prime Minister don’t have to report to the Head of State if he/she wants to fire a Minister. His/her powers to do such is within the Westminster System endorsed by our House of Assembly.

    “Members of the Cabinet are collectively seen as responsible for government policy. All Cabinet decisions are normally made by consensus. All ministers, whether senior and in the Cabinet, or junior ministers, must support the policy of the government publicly regardless of any private reservations. A cabinet member may be forced to resign, or may choose to resign, if they oppose one aspect of a government’s agenda. The power to appoint ministers to the Cabinet – and to dismiss them – is perhaps the single most powerful constitutional power which a Prime Minister has in the political control of the Government in the Westminster system.”

    So Caswell, sorry that you are wrong this time. However, A Prime Minister out of protocol might inform the Head of State if he/she feels like.

    • @Hal

      A failing minister left in office for too long becomes stale and runs out of ideas unless s/he has a particular passion and commitment to his/her portfolio – Cameron Tudor at education is a good local example.

      To your statement above BU would modify to sugest that anyone left in office too long a staleness in ideas is inevitable.

  27. The PDC has evolved – so far – twelve (12) fundamental principles concerning money and its uses in Barbados.

    A definition of Money – Money is a non-tradeable, non-consumable, measurable, recyclable, usable, socio-psychologically reactable to, physical commodity – and the only one of its kind – that actually carries denominations for purposes of its users creating its own uses (at the same time) out of their own incomes, payments, and transfers, etc.

    Two of those fundamental principles are:

    1) M, or its uses, CANNOT give rise to M debt. Nothing can anyhow. For, as it stands, the notion of Money Debt is a wicked dishonest myth that only exists in the eyes of the minds of some people. It has no objective existence of its own.

    2) M CANNOT be used to payback M debt, which itself again – CAN NEVER exist. The notion of Money debt is an absolutely illogical unreasonable contradiction spoken to and written by many people without a clue as to the what they are really speaking or writing about. For, whereas money actually exists – debt does not.

    So, right away one can see the deep rooted intellectual and political bankruptcy and idiocy of these DLP and BLP governments – over the years – in helping to impose – alongside the core financial system in the country – these false ridiculous myths on a hapless people, and in very practical environments, to the detriment of the further growth and development of the people of this country.

    A future coalitional government of Barbados and of which the PDC shall be a part shall lead the way in creating a very needed and necessary post-PUBLIC DEBT society for Barbados.


  28. David

    There is always an exception to the general rule. FDR, served as president of the United States for three terms. He served from 1933 to 1945. And we know how his liberal policies helped addressed one of the worse depressions in human history.

  29. “On the matter of degrees,one of the foremost organists in the world Nicolas Kynaston has no university degree in music yet he is held in awe and reverence in this fine art.”
    Sir Cow Williams did not go to University but he still got a degree and is the richest man in Barbados.
    Sir Mighty Sparrow did not go to University but he win more titles than Professor Chalkdust.
    The people of Barbados are indebted to Mr Barrack to the tune of in excess of $60 million Bds dollars and I hear he only went to primary school in St Vincent.
    Luciano Pavarotti the world’s foremost tenor singer could not read a word in music neither could Russ Conway one of the world’s finest pianists.

    The Public Service of Barbados lost its reputation for competence and soundness of advice when promotion by merit was discontinued and promotion awarded by qualifications. This dealt the service a double blow in that aspirants spent most of their time at their desks burning the daylight oil at the expense of productivity and those with qualifications never bothered to learn the nuances of public service management.
    And please do not get me wrong, I am not anti- university or degrees.

  30. @Artxerxes

    The power of recall is very important in a democracy. How do we, in Barbados, remove a member of parliament who develops mental illness or commits a criminal offence?
    @ David

    A long-serving minister does not have to be stale. Sinckler is.

  31. Well Well

    Now, don’t’ panic and run screaming into the street with your panty beneath your knees. It was just a joke. Girl! I don’t’ exactly hate you girl because if you were on fire and I had water, I would drink it.

  32. @ Tell me Why | April 5, 2014 at 1:13 AM |

    Since you are so dogmatic about the Constitutional power of the PM to hire and fire ministers of the Crown what would happen if the GG refuses to act “in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister”?

    Section 66 (3) of the Constitution reads as follows:

    The office of a Minister, other than the office of Prime Minister, shall become vacant:-
    (a) upon the appointment or re-appointment of any person to the office of Prime Minister;
    (b) if his appointment to his office is revoked by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice
    of the Prime Minister, by instrument under the Public Seal ;
    (c) if, for any reason other than a dissolution of Parliament, he ceases to be a member of the House of which he was a member at the date of his appointment as a Minister; or
    (d) if he is not a member of either House at the date of the
    first sitting of Parliament after a dissolution of Parliament.”

    Would the PM fire the GG or call elections?

  33. Artxerxes

    Mental illness is not a sufficient enough ground to remove someone from public office. When there are medication as well as behaviour therapies to address this condition. Maybe his or her refusal to seek treatment would warrant some kind of an intervention. Because there are many people who function perfectly well in society with mental illness, so long as their taking the medication prescribed by they doctors and seeking the necessary psychotherapy.

  34. Artxerxes

    As a matter of fact, what you have suggested is a form of discrimination. Because their are people who are born with congenital conditions such as schizophrenia; who functions pretty well as long as their taking the antipsychotic – medication, prescribed to treat this condition.

  35. Artxerxes

    You would be surprise to know the number of people taking lithium to address they bipolar- disorders as well as manic – depression, that appear normal.

    • @Dompey

      Jesus, you have made your last point four times and to boot it lacks relevance. Which parliamentary group or whoever will suport an MP to hold the responsible position of Prime Minister for example? Such a decision is nit bound in anything legal.

      On Saturday, 5 April 2014, Barbados Underground wrote:


  36. Dompey……why are you having those types of visions of me on a Saturday morning and projecting them on BU no less……voyeur much…lol

  37. @ dompey | April 5, 2014 at 10:25 AM |

    How do you know the number of people taking lithium?

    Do they attend the same pharmacy or clinic as you Marcus Felony, the man with multiple personalities?
    Surprise us and tell us who on this blog take lithium other than ac and Bushie the BBE weed whacker. LOL!!

  38. dompey | April 5, 2014 at 10:41 AM |
    Perhaps ,the medical doctor Georgie Porgie, is able to give credence to what I am saying?

  39. I was not following this thread but while browsing, I noticed that I was misunderstood and misquoted.

    In accordance with section 65 of the Constitution, the Governor-General appoints ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister.

    If the PM wants to rid himself of a minister, he must ask the GG to revoke the minister’s appointment. In such cases the GG must act on the advice of the PM. Even in the event of a reassignment of ministerial portfolios, the PM must advise the GG to make the changes.

  40. Georgie Porgie

    I haven’t anything to prove sir. You told the BU forum several weeks ago that you attended medical school in the Caribbean. So obviously, you have to defend your own record because you’re beginning to sound more like a boldface liar. And finally, can you explain to the BU forum: the five rules which any doctor ought to know, when he or she is admintering medication to a patient? This just to test the validity of your claim and to return the credibility you’re lacking, since you put your foot in your own mouth.

  41. Dompey… save you further embarrassment, i feel real generous today, for the time I have been on BU, GP has contributed and educated on medical matters and has done so in quite a professional manner and extensive manner as a doctor, don’t take it further…try to save face. I want to share some info, just looking for the right thread, you can contribute even better there.

  42. Georgie Porgie

    And one more thing sir: it is kinda sad watching you attempt to fit your entire vocabulary into a sentence. Man, if you’re the example of what Barbados has for intelligence, then it is no wonder why our educational system is in trouble.

  43. Well Well

    I have worked with doctors you probably never heard about. And with one MRI machine in Barbados, what can you tell me about medicine that I do not already know.

  44. Well Well

    I’ve found that in my twenty odd years working in the healthcare industry: that the nurses are best informed than doctors, but the ethics of the job prevents than from given medical advice. I have seen nurses redirecting doctors on many occasions and that’s the honest truth.

  45. “Estwick stated that he voted party because it would have affected civil servants pay and it would have taken months if an election was called. ”

    I am not sure that statement is totally correct. My understanding is that the Governor -General can sign an order up to a maximum of three months to facilitate the payment of salaries and wages if the appropriation bill is not passed. However, it is inconceivable and would not say much of Mr Estwick if a man who has held the post of Minister of Economic affairs was not before aware that expenditure is halted but can be temporarily continued on the discretion of the for a period of three months if the appropriation bill is not passed. The major fallout if the bill was not passed would be to the Administration who would be forced to resign under the much touted Westminster system which we conveniently practice.

  46. Georgie Porgie

    I thought I would never have to say this but sir, you reek with arrogance. And that isn’t a quality you usually see associated with the well educated.

    And to make matters worse: you have the audacity to use the Bible as your weapon to beat another into shape. GOD PUT YOUR WORDS IN THAT MAN’S MOUTH.

  47. DONKEY
    PROVERBS 26: 4-5 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

    Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.


  48. Wunna think Freundel is a sweetbread? He handed Sinkler a poisoned chalice for the ” eager eleven” fiasco. Sinkler will never be PM after doing Freundel’s dirty work. Politics is a blood sport.

  49. Georgie Porgie

    A fool as described within the Biblical context, is one who does know God’s word. Brother, am Save, Sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost, as the spirit gives utterance. I know my Bible, so don’t preach to me Satan.

  50. Georgie Porgie

    I have been a Pentecostal for the last twenty years. Baptized in Jesus and care little for the trinity doctrine. Now, I want you to pensively contemplate Proverbs 4:7 which reads: ” Wisdom is the principle thing, therefore get wisdom, and in all thy getting get understanding.”

  51. Georgie Porgie

    Yes, brother, the Oneness- Doctrine is where I am at Porgie. Remember Jesus expressly stated in the Hebrew Scriptures that: I and my Father are one. ( John 10: 30) We believe that Jesus is God manifested in the flesh and this is also evident in John 1:1.

  52. Well I see a Min of Finance having consultations with a number of people. It would be ridiculous to assume that he is acting on his own. So the rotating of people while keeping the same (highly paid) advisors in place would be irrelevant.

    Now to the question of reshuffling a Prime Minister … hmmm

  53. Can one of our constitutional experts help me. If the prime minister is unable to carry out a reshuffle without the authority of the head of state, is this authority formal or ceremonial? If it is formal, what happens if the head of state refuses to endorse the prime minister’s recommendations?
    can the head of state substitute his or her own names for those submitted by the prime minister? If so, and his/her decision was to be challenged can this be done in the Supreme court? Would this mean the chief justice would in effect be appointing the Executive? Would an appeal from the Supreme
    Court to the CCJ mean that this power would be transferred to the CCJ?
    Are we facing a constitutional timebomb that is about to explode, given that we nearly got a tied parliament?

  54. I cannot understand why we are seemingly trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

    The Prime Minister is bound by the Constitution to keep the Governor General fully informed concerning the general conduct of the government of Barbados and shall furnish the Governor General with such information as the Governor General, acting in his discretion may request with respect to any particular matter relating to the government of Barbados. This includes the Assignment of responsibilities to Ministers which would include the re-assigning or re- shuffling of Ministers who must be sworn to their new duties by the Governor-General.

  55. Hal Austin, I am no expert in Con Law but the exert below is of interest to the questions you posed. Bear in mind that after the monarchy was restored in England Parliament eventually took away all the REAL power it had leaving Royalty virtually powerless. The mistake Parliament made was not disposing of that institution permanently when Charles 1 head was cut off. In our time and at every opening of Parliament in London the Queen reads a speech written for her by the Government of the day. They have nothing to fear from the opinion of the Monarch. The Monarch has no interest in interrupting her great life with the stress of politics. This has been the case since the 1600s. Until……….

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    “The 1975 Australian constitutional crisis (often known simply as “the Dismissal”) has been described as the greatest political and constitutional crisis in Australian history. It culminated on 11 November 1975 with the removal of the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), by Governor-General Sir John Kerr, who then appointed the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Fraser, as caretaker Prime Minister.

    Whitlam’s Labor government had been elected in 1972 with a small majority in the House of Representatives, but with the Opposition controlling the Senate. Another election in 1974 resulted in little change. While the Whitlam Government introduced many new policies and programs, it was also rocked by scandals and political miscalculations. In October 1975, the Opposition used its control of the Senate to defer passage of appropriation bills, or supply, which finance governmental operations and which had been passed by the House of Representatives. The Opposition stated that they would continue to do so unless Whitlam called an election for the House of Representatives and urged Kerr to dismiss Whitlam unless he agreed to their demand. Whitlam believed that Kerr would not dismiss him, and Kerr did nothing to disabuse Whitlam.

    On 11 November 1975, Whitlam intended to call a half-Senate election in an attempt to break the deadlock. When he went to seek Kerr’s approval of the election, Kerr instead dismissed him as Prime Minister, and shortly thereafter installed Fraser in his place. Acting quickly before all ALP parliamentarians became aware of the change of government, Fraser and his allies were able to secure passage of the appropriation bills, and Kerr dissolved Parliament for a double dissolution election. Fraser and his government were returned with a massive majority.

    The events of the Dismissal led to only minor constitutional change. The Senate retains its power to block supply, and the Governor-General the power to dismiss the Government. However, those powers have not been exercised again. Kerr was widely criticised by ALP supporters for his actions, resigned early as Governor-General, and lived much of his remaining life abroad. Though Whitlam and Fraser later reconciled, Kerr, who died in 1991, continues to be reviled in some quarters.”

  56. Have we conveniently forgotten:

    That the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler said his life had been threatened and as a result, he is currently being ‘detailed’ by member of the local constabulary. He was reported as saying…..“On my way here I received a call from my secretary [telling me to] come back because a Superintendent from the Royal Barbados Police Force Special Services wanted to speak to me on a security matter… He told me that they had credible information that two people were overheard planning to shoot me.”
    What is the status of this investigation? Has the police Special Branch made any progress in determining the reason behind this alleged “hit” or the identities of the alleged “assassins”?

    Sinckler’s comment that school children were being allowed to travel free on Transport Board buses as a measure of security, because they were being taken in and out of Barbados for the purpose of prostitution.
    Does not his statement contradict those reasons given by David Thompson’s during the 2008 budget presentation?

    Sinckler’s revelation that he was reliably informed of a discussion held in a BLP secret meeting, which suggested…… should the BLP be elected to office in 2014, they would retrench 10,000 civil servants?

    Will we be correct in viewing these comments as “red herrings”, the sole purpose of which, was to distract all and sundry from important issues, especially at a time when Sinckler was apparently under pressure?

    Sinckler the politician = 100%
    Sinckler as MoF = Reshuffle

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