One of the more interesting decisions made in 2018 by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) government led by Mia Mottley was to appoint the largest ever Cabinet in our history. Her justification for the ‘relatively large’ Cabinet was because of the overwhelming mandate received from the electorate. From 2018 until the present – with a cosmetic tweak in 2022 – the Cabinet has remained large.
Enough time has elapsed to fairly judge if a large Cabinet adds value to how the country has been governed since 2018. It has been a government led by the larger than life and seemingly indefatigable Prime Minister Mottley. Her style of delivery and oratory skill has endeared her to the international community. It is worth a reminder she inherited an economy with a GDP north of 150 with junk status credit rating. There was a feeling of renewed hope in the nation post 2018 general election.
Out of the gate the Mottley government committed the country to a debt restructure on domestic and local holdings which right sided the debt to GDP indicator BUT immediately shot the confidence of local and foreign investors. The lack of confidence to invest persists four years later. To be expected economists are divided on whether it was the right strategy, these decisions are never easy we must admit.
In Mottley’s defense she will postulate that the COVID 19 pandemic, Hurricane Elsa and La Soufriere volcano ash fall combined to derail government’s rebuild effort and in fact caused the economy to significantly contract. To reasonable onlookers she has a good defense. However hungry mouths well not be as sympathetic. The debate will continue about the BLP’s performance since 2018 until the next bell is rung.
Political pundits are already surveying a barren political landscape for alternative voting options. The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) under rookie leader Dr. Ronnie Yearwood is in the early stage of a rebuild and the many political parties that presented at the polls in 2018 and 2022 have done the usual vanishing act of which Houdini would have been proud.
What is the blogmaster trying to say in too many words?
Prime Minister Mottley has taken the reins of government at a challenging time in our history there can be no doubt. This is precisely why decisions taken by Mottley must be fit for purpose for the extraordinary times to guide a 166 square mile open economy island through the economic tempest and other challenges. There is no good reason the country should have to suffer a bloated Cabinet not to mention a bevy of financial consultants in 2022. Mottley must stop pandering to political inclinations and instead send clear signals to the population she and her government are prepared to make the sacrifice and walk with the people at a difficult time in our history.
What the blogmaster fears most is – when the next general election is called the electorate may have no choice to abstain or vote anyone posing as an opposition, a default position. The level of apathy and cynicism in the country is already low. Whither our democratic system?