26 on Mia’s team
Prime Minister Mia Mottley yesterday named the largest Cabinet in Barbados’ history, making it clear that paying a few extra ministers was a small price for taking the country forward.
Calling it the “people’s government” and saying she would be holding ministers to a very high standard, Mottley revealed a 26-minister Cabinet plus two parliamentary secretaries and two special ambassadors.
She said it was necessary because of the dire state of the economy.
“The Cabinet will be relatively large because I’ve not only considered the mandate given to us by the people, but also the scope of the work to be done, and the level of expertise that is at our disposal, among elected members. I’ve opted to share the workload across a significant proportion of the parliamentary group, rather than conform to the theory of a small Cabinet, thus creating an unrealistic setting for members to function effectively,” she said in a 14-minute statement at Government Headquarters on Bay Street.
“The salaries of a few extra ministers are relatively insignificant, given that there will be tremendous savings on the containment of wastage and the curtailment of corruption. There are the traditional bedrock portfolios, as we also look to embrace new concepts and opportunities, including the pursuit of maritime exploits in a blue economy, people’s empowerment and elderly care, the concept of science, innovation and smart technology, as well as the restoration of the stand-alone Ministry of Home Affairs, which will have responsibility for the police once again,” Mottley revealed.
In addition to the ministers, Mottley named Ambassador Dr Clyde Mascoll as chief economic counsellor to the Minister of Finance, and former Deputy Prime Minister, Dame Billie Miller as Ambassador-at-large and Plenipotentiary as special advisors to the Government, who would attend Cabinet meetings as required, given the difficulties facing the country.
First-time parliamentarian, attorney at law, Arthur Holder, will be Speaker of the House of Assembly, while Deputy Speaker will be Gline Clarke, and Dr Sonia Browne, another first-timer, chairman of committees.
Former minister in a 1990s Barbados Labour Party administration, Sir Richard Cheltenham QC, is set to be named President of the Senate, and his deputy will be another former minister, Rudolph “Cappy” Greenidge.
The new Cabinet comprises seven women, the highest number ever to serve at that level, topping the four between 1994 and 2008.
The last Democratic Labour Party Government had 17 ministers and three parliamentary secretaries.
The new ministers will be sworn in at an official ceremony today at 4 p.m. (BA)