In Barbados, political leaders debate limiting cabinet size at town hall meeting

By Jenique Belgrave, 18 September 2023
Flag of Barbados (photo credit: David_Peterson via pixabay)
Flag of Barbados (photo credit: David_Peterson via pixabay)
A respected political consultant has recommended a cap on the size of the Cabinet but two former ministers on opposing sides of the political divide, Senior Counsel Adriel Brathwaite and current president of the Senate Reginald Farley, are united against such a move. Brathwaite further suggested that ministers should be subject to frequent reviews – quarterly or annually – to assess their performance in their roles. Political pollster Peter Wickham on [the night of 14 September] suggested to the Parliamentary Reform Commission (PRC) the need for a constitutional limit on the number of ministers appointed by a leader, as is done in the Cayman Islands. He argued that having a large number of Cabinet ministers hinders the ability of backbenchers to scrutinise the work of the executive. [...] However, former ministers in the Barbados Labour Party and Democratic Labour Party administrations, Reginald Farley and Senior Counsel Adriel Brathwaite, respectively, expressed opposition to limiting the number of Cabinet ministers. The two, who were on a panel at the town hall meeting discussing The Role of Ministers and their Relationship with Parliament, made their position clear as they responded to a question posed by PRC member Dr William Chandler Jr. who said that many of the recommendations received from the public were for a constitutional limit to be placed on the number of government ministers who can be appointed. Farley said there were “practical and pragmatic reasons” why the Constitution should not set a maximum number of Cabinet ministers, including the need for that number to be adjusted depending on the country’s circumstances at the time. [...] Acknowledging that similar requests for a limit on Cabinet ministers have also reached the Constitutional Reform Commission, Brathwaite, who is one of its Commissioners, added: “You shouldn’t hamper the ability of the Prime Minister to be reactive in terms of what the country requires at any point in time.”
Read the full article here: Barbados Today


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