Cabinet ministers rewarded for foul ups

Minister of Finance
The Honourable Prime Minister Mia Mottley

In recent days a principal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAB) was severely critical of the lack of support given to the Auditor General’s department by government. In a sponsored program on the Voice of Barbados titled Talking Financing the President of ICAB did not hold back venting on government’s lack of support for the Auditor General’s office, an important watchdog in our governance system. It was refreshing to listen to an independent agency in Barbados frontally address an issue untainted by political rhetoric and association.

Barbadians have been expressing concerns about incompetence and a stench of corruption to be found in decades worth of Auditor General reports which have been largely ignored by successive governments.

We will therefore strengthen governance in all of government’s affairs, ensuring that our public affairs are managed in a manner that is transparent, participatory, equitable, responsible, responsive, inclusive, and people centred.

2022 Barbados Labour P arty Manifesto

There is definitely a crisis of governance in Barbados with two consecutive general elections registering ALL 30 seats in the Lower House won by the Mia Mottley Barbados Labour Party (BLP). The result has created a dysfunction in parliament how important working committees have not been working as envisaged by the framers of the original Barbados Constitution. Some may suggest even when there was an elected Opposition working committees only served to check the process and procedure box, a different conversation.

From observation since Barbados Underground was established in 2007 there is an irrefutable conclusion to be made. In the system of government practiced, we struggle mightily with holding feet to the fire when government officials contravene rules, procedures and expected standards of performance.

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Did Many Hands Make Light Work?

Mia Mottley out-strategized all comers to win the recent general election by inflicting another 30-0 drubbing on a hapless Democratic Labour Party (DLP). The win is all the more incredible because it was achieved after a 3-year period of unprecedented economic challenges caused primarily by the ongoing pandemic AND the brought forward state of a weak economy.

Besides the chatter about the capacity of the DLP to reinvent itself to be seen as a legitimate choice of a government in waiting, the more immediate expectation is the shape of the new Cabinet and appointments to the Senate expected to be communicated this week. Prime Minister Mottley has signaled among other priorities this second tenure will focused on continuing transformative pursuits to improve how the country does its business.

In 2018 Mottley appointed 26 ministers with several parliamentary secretaries and consultants bolted on. That decision continues to evoke robust discussion pertaining to the insensitivity of the decision given the weak state of the economy. Mottley’s justification was that the perilous state of the economy and the workload required to rebuild the economy justified her decision. Her explanation was summed up in the phrase – many hands make light work. The blogmaster admits the mandate delivered last week probably had little to do with a large cabinet and more to do with a favourable perception of Mottley as leader of government at this time by voters compared to the alternatives on show. 

Political pundits argue Mottley had the difficult job of managing 30 members of parliament coupled with executing government business efficiently. It explains her contentious decision to have appointed 26 members to the 2018 Cabinet. This time around it will be interesting to observe if she repeats the decision- no doubt with the Kingmaker’s blessing- to reappoint a large Cabinet.

Political morality requires Mottley to think carefully about the optics of of another bloated Cabinet to satisfy political expediency at a time many Barbadians are suffering. Mottley is aware of the hospitality sector where employees in the thousands were sent home or suffered reduced pay, middleclass and senior citizens who had to suffer deep haircuts to nest egg investments as a result of the debt restructure and generally a workforce that continues suffer because of significant contraction in the economy are the key considerations. An important trait of a good leader is to make decisions to demonstrate empathy.

Some Ministers of Government Not Earning Pay

In May 2018 the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) achieved the unprecedented in a general election by winning all 30 seats. Although Bishop Joseph Atherley seized the opportunity to defect and by default forced the Governor General to appoint him Leader of the Opposition, it does not detract from the shellacking of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) at the 2018 polls.

Immediately on winning the government Prime Minister Mottley continued with the unprecedented by establishing the largest Cabinet in the history of Barbados AND the world. Her rationale- ‘many hands make light work’. In an interview soon after her momentous win Mottley explained to retired journalist David Ellis that Barbadians should judge her government over time on its performance to justify the large selection – An Interview with Prime Minister Mottley.

Students of politics are aware the appointment of a large front bench is designed to blunt the back bench. Unfortunately it is the political gamesmanship and chicanery our adversarial politics encourages.

As the countdown to the next general election 2023 starts the question included in the poll must be fairly considered.

Related Link: An Invisible Mottley Cabinet

The Mottley Shuffle

ˌCabinet reˈshuffle noun  –  a change in the members of the British Cabinetdecided by the prime minister, in which some members are given different jobs, some members lose their jobs, and new members are brought in.


The Mottley cabinet reshuffle has generated tanta debate in the country. This is not surprising given her decision to appoint a 26 strong Cabinet supported by a bevy of parliamentary secretaries and consultants said to be the largest anywhere in the world per thousand of population.

Civic minded citizens appreciate the importance of a vibrant opposition within the parliamentary setup AND The Third Estate. Unfortunately the culture of local parliamentary politics has not morphed to a level of maturity to witness routine voting that challenges the front bench. Members of parliament – like puppets on a string – happily discharge parliamentary duties by parroting the positions of the front benchers. How refreshing it would be in the current configuration of the Lower House to have backbenchers voting and contributing based on conscience. Wishful thinking from the blogmaster because Prime Minister Mottley removed that possibility by selecting 26 ministers that she recently reduced to 24.

What informs the decision by a prime minister to reshuffle a cabinet is left to speculation. All the opinions expressed as to Mottley’s motive for the changes to her cabinet remain just that, opinions. That is unless she sees good reason to disclose her reasons to the public and how would we know she is not being politically diplomatic given the nature of the blood sport?

At a glance the reshuffle leaves the blogmaster to speculate about a few things supported by a little research.

Prime Minister Mottley for the moment regards Ministers Jerome Walcott, Dale Marshall, Santia Bradshaw and Jeffery Bostic, Cynthia Forde and possibly Ronald Toppin as the nucleus of her Cabinet. It is important as leader for stability be maintained in the Cabinet room and by extension the government.

The reshuffle was possibly to accommodate Lisa Cummins and Ian Gooding-Edghill who demonstrated competence and high work effort. The inclusion of the two is meant to infuse Cabinet with greater energy to match that of prime minister Mottley at a challenging period of the countries existence. There is the speculation Cummins is also being given the opportunity to raise her national profile with an eye to 2023.

The government has not yet implemented Integrity in Public Life (Bill) although the law was passed recently. It has to be operationalized. The devil is always in the detail (execution). By shuffling ministers around it serves to upset relationships, destabilized fledgling power structures that may have taken root after two years. Until the integrity in public life apparatus is implemented the prime minister has the option given the large MP pool to use the reshuffle option in the toolbox to suppress corrupt behaviour.

In June when the large cabinet was selected the prime minister would have based her decision for the most part on potential. After two years she is in a position to match potential with performance. It is an opportunity for Prime Minster Mottley to FIRE a couple ministers under the cloak of a reshuffle. If Trevor Prescod wants to make a fuss about a prime minister exercising the prerogative to relieve him of his ministry the blogmaster sees the upside, a more active bank bench which is integral to adversarial politics in the system we try to practicee. Some of us maybe encouraged to tune in to debates in the Lower House.

Those ministers who escaped the reshuffle should not feel they operate in a safe zone. Mottley is aware her large cabinet will be a platform issue in the upcoming general election. She will have to do another assessment before she rings the bell to determine if she can defend the position that she needed a large Cabinet to get a difficult job done. If the answer is no, she will jettison a few more.

The 64k question for the BU intelligentsia- which bucket does Prescod, Payne, Hinkson or Moe fit? Bear in mind it is speculative because with the exception of a couple BU commenters, we do not live in the head of Mia Mottley.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley Appoints Cabinet

Prime Minister Mia Mottley has hit the ground running and less than 48 hours after receiving an overwhelming mandate to govern, she appointed her Cabinet. It is a large Cabinet but one can argue two points 1. the enormity of the task requires the resources to efficiently manage, AND, there is the politics, she has 30 members to manage! As she solidifies her powerbase one expects she will consolidate as required or face the political fallout. The blogmaster will be fair and allow a few weeks for the BLP action plan to emerge before critique.


Full list of Ministers:

  • Prime Minister Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment – Mia Mottley
  • Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs – Dale Marshall
  • Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training and Leader of Government Business – Santia Bradshaw
  • Minister of Housing, Lands and Rural Development – George Payne
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Leader of Government Business in the Senate – Senator Dr Jerome Walcott
  • Minister of International Business and Industry – Ronald Toppin
  • Minister of Environment and National Beautification – Trevor Prescod
  • Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs – Cynthia Forde
  • Minister of Tourism and International Transport – Kerrie Symmonds
  • Minister of Transport Works and Maintenance  – Dr William Duguid
  • Minister of Health and Wellness – Jeffrey Bostic
  • Minister of Home Affairs – Edmund Hinkson
  • Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce – Dwight Sutherland
  • Minister of Energy and Water Resources – Wilfred Abrahams
  • Minister in the Ministry of Finance – Ryan Straughn
  • Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment – Marsha Caddle
  • Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade – Sandra Husbands
  • Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations – Colin Jordan
  • Minister in the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Rural Development – Charles Griffith
  • Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment – Adrian Forde
  • Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy – Kirk Humphrey
  • Minister of Agriculture and Food Security – Indar Weir
  • Minister in the Ministry of Transport Works and Maintenance – Peter Phillips
  • Minister of the Creative Economy, Culture and Sports – John King
  • Minister of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology – Senator Kay McConney
  • Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Public Affairs- Senator Lucille Moe


Full list of Senators:

  • Senator Sir Richard Cheltenham
  • Senator Rudolph ‘Cappy’ Greenidge
  • Senator Dr Jerome Walcott
  • Senator Kay McConney
  • Senator Lucille Moe
  • Senator Rawdon Adams
  • Senator Lisa Cummins
  • Senator Rudy Grant
  • Senator Dr Rommel Springer
  • Senator Lynette Holder
  • Senator Damien Sands
  • Senator Dr Chrystal Haynes

Related information:

  • Arthur Holder – Speaker of the House
  • Glyne Clarke – Deputy Speaker
  • Sonia Browne – Chairman of Committees
  • Ambassador at Large and Plenipotentiary – Dame Billie Miller
  • Ambassador/Chief Economic Counsellor in the ministry of finance – Clyde Mascoll
  • Jessica Odle-Baril – Prime Minister’s Personal Aide
  • Pat Parris – Director of Public Affairs (to replace traditional press secretary)
  • TBD – Director of Communications
  • TBD – Czars in critical areas