Prime Minister Mia Mottley delivers her oath while Governor General, Dame Sandra Mason, pays rapt attention. (Picture by Reco Moore.)
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Prime Minister Mia Mottley hit the ground running yesterday.
The new Prime Minister, with Attorney General Dale Marshall by her side, quickly put the celebration of the Barbados Labour Party’s landslide victory on Thursday behind them and held the first meeting with her parliamentary team to put in place a framework for the first week in office.
Mottley is set to name her first Cabinet by tomorrow, then meet with the leaders of the Social Partnership on Monday, before starting to implement what her party called 20 mission critical issues intended to bring the country out of its current abyss.
“This afternoon (yesterday) I go to take some briefings on the economy. Only a few of us will be working, but we look forward to that. I hope, over the course of the next week, to set the tone,” she said in the lobby of Government House half an hour after being sworn in.
“We are also are very conscious that were we only to stabilise the economy and not transform it, we would be doing a disservice to our country. We have to ensure we can leapfrog those who have passed us out, such that opportunities are there for our young people and our country as a whole,” Mottley added.
Want to meet
“I’ve already spoken with some members of the Social Partnership, and want to meet with the leaders on Monday morning so we can set the framework with which we go forward.”
Mottley said she intended to meet with the Social Partnership at least twice a month to deal with their mission critical issues.
“Above all else, Barbados needs consensus to move forward,” she said of the importance of meeting with the Social Partnership.
She said job number one would be attempting to stabilise the economy, along with prioritising areas mentioned throughout the three-week campaign, inclusive of the South Coast Sewerage Project; lack of a properly functioning transport system; payment of foreign debt, stabilising foreign reserves; and implementation of a proper garbage collection system.
Mottley said lots of work lies ahead for Marshall, who would have to come up with plans to immediately release the backlogged cases in the judicial system and facilitate establishment of commercial and family courts.
The Prime Minister said immediate briefings would also be arranged with the Governor of the Central Bank, the Director of Finance and Economic Affairs and the Director of the National Insurance Department.
“There are also a number of contracts we have to have reviewed, which may pose liability for us. Over the next week, I hope to be able to put in place a financial discovery team so we can get a picture of the true state of the Government’s finances, [and] make decisions. We cannot fly blindly.”
She said as promised, her Government would maintain regular communication with the electorate that provided them with an unprecedented mandate, especially in the absence of an Opposition in Parliament.
“It will be at least twice a month and thereafter as required,” Mottley responded, when asked about post-Cabinet media conferences.
Mottley also said press secretaries to the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet would be appointed in due course.
She added that files regarding the Hyatt Resort case, now in the law courts, would be perused, and she would also release the Article IV consultation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which the previous administration never made public.