The recent Cabinet shuffle by Prime Minister Mia Mottley has caused tongues of political pundits to wag. The Cabinet changes came a few months into a second term after an early general election called in January 2021.
Prime Minister Mottley under our system of government practiced has the authority to appoint and disappoint regarding the composition of Cabinet and there must be good reasons in her mind for the changes. She has loudly signalled to the public her confidence in beleaguered Minister of Education Kay McConney and to a lesser extent Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins who was transferred to Energy and Business Development, International Business and Trade. Of interest is the fact Cummins has not had to face the electorate. We have also seen the elevation of Corey Layne to Minister of State in the Attorney General’s office for responsibility for crime prevention.
Traditionally a Prime Minister is thought to ‘bring’ outsiders into the Cabinet to enhance the skill level, although it seems with McConney and Cummins to be nakedly political given the quick rotation from original appointments. The current Cabinet is labelled the largest per capita in the world. There is a parallel discussion – less we forget – about the number of consultants the Mottley government continues to appoint in the rich tradition of her predecessors. The more things change…
Mottley into an early second term after an abbreviated first term continues to defend the large Cabinet and appointment of consultants- positions offered the the ‘boys’. Truth be told given the overwhelming mandate given by the electorate in 2018 and 2021 that resulted in no elected Opposition it is enough to make Mottley believe she has carte blanche to manage the affairs of country.
With the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) – see CRC website currently doing its work with a goal to submit recommendations in 18 months for a new Constitution – the arbitrary way Barbados prime ministers have ignored concerns from the public must be addressed. A mechanism must be included in a New Constitution which receives and processes concerns from the public in a structured way to avoid destabilising governments work.