Barbados Prime Minister Announces First Cabinet Reshuffle
Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson has made his first cabinet reshuffle since returning to power in January (2008) and for the first time announced a deputy prime minister.
Thompson named Attorney General Freundel Stuart as Deputy Prime Minister and announced new ministers of Health, Foreign Affairs, Economic Affairs, International Business and the Environment.
The new Minister of Health is Donville Inniss, the former Minister of State in the foreign ministry. He has replaced outspoken medical doctor, David Estwick, in what is seen as a hot seat that includes responsibility for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Estwick is the new Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, some of the areas he shadowed while previously in opposition. He takes on some of the Prime Minister’s portfolio (Economic Affairs) and George Hutson’s (Trade, Industry and Commerce).
Hutson is the new Minister of International Business and International Transport, handling parts of the portfolios that had been held by Chris Sinckler and John Boyce.
Denis Lowe was named Minister of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage. His is part of Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo’s old portfolio (the Environment), as well as responsibilities that had been assigned to the Ministry of Health (Water) and the Ministry of Transport, Works and International Transport (drainage).
The new Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is Senator Maxine McClean, replacing Sinckler. (She had been Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, with responsibility for immigration matters.)
Sinckler has been switched to the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Rural and Urban Development. This makes him responsible for both the Urban Development Commission (UDC) and the Rural Development Commission (RDC). In the Ministry of Social Care, he replaced Lowe.
Senator Haynesley Benn now has a smaller portfolio. He remains Minister of Agriculture, losing his Rural Development portfolio.
Byer-Suckoo also has a smaller portfolio – Family, Youth and Sports.
Also shifted was City of Bridgetown parliamentarian, Patrick Todd, who moves from being Minister of State in the Ministry of Social Care to Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development.
In the tradition, Prime Minister Thompson gave reasons for the changes, but stated his determination to “deploy ministers in as effective a manner as possible, given the need to maximize individual and collective strengths.” The cabinet remains 18 strong.
After more than 14 years in opposition, Thompson’s DLP returned to power in January 15th, 2008 general elections, winning 20 of the 30 seats in the Barbados House of Assembly.
December 5th, 2008