Barbados Cabinet Shuffle – Succession Planning under pressure

UPDATED: October 2, 2010 1:17am Bridgetown

David Estwick does the right thing for Barbados, the DLP and himself

Judging by the number of on again, off again press conferences scheduled in the last 24 hours by demoted government minister David Estwick, it wasn’t easy, but he (if you’ll pardon the expression) bit the bullet and took the pain.

Last night Dr. Estwick issued a statement that briefly communicates his disappointment, but emphasizes his continuing commitment to Barbados, Prime Minister Thompson and his party. He wishes “all that is good” to Minister Sinckler and states that contrary to some reports he has no animosity to anyone.

Estwick gives credit to his colleagues and support staff who worked with him during his time as Minister of Economic Affairs and, most important, he lists his and his team’s ongoing work and accomplishments. It is fitting that Bajans realise that no matter who has the helm, Dr. Estwick and his team contributed heavily to the foundation that has been laid for the future.

We at Barbados Free Press believe that Minister Estwick conducted himself with dignity and honour under trying personal circumstances and that Barbadians of all political stripes will remember this moment in his political career with great respect.

BFP carries David Estwick’s full statement in another article as we believe it is worthy of our readers’ full consideration.

Here is our original article on the Cabinet shuffle as first published on October 1, 2010…

No winners, two big losers: Estwick and Barbados

Our invisible Prime Minister (that’s him above) announced the latest cabinet shuffle yesterday. The fourth Cabinet in two years and eight months produced no real winners, but two big losers.

The first loser is former Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs David Estwick who is now in charge of “Fish Markets, rat poison and the termination of the giant African Snails.”

That beautifully creative description comes from The Bajan Reporter article Former Economic Affairs Minister of Barbados under heavy fire.

Estwick’s new position sounds about right to us, considering that we and others called for his resignation when Estwick displayed a pistol in Parliament under circumstances that can only be seen as an attempt to intimidate another member.

Whether Estwick was demoted for his uncontrolled mouth or the gun incident or both, he’s demoted with a public spanking. David Thompson had to do it or risk being seen as weak or not in charge.

Dr. David Estwick

Politicians have recovered from such falls before, but it will take more than the natural healing of time for Estwick to rise again. There will have to be some fundamental behavioural changes before he can regain the confidence of the party and the public. Few Bajans will feel much sympathy for Estwick because he is the author of his own misfortune.

It is said that he has called a press conference for Friday afternoon. What Estwick says could unite and strengthen the DLP and the government in this time of personal and national challenges, or… (and we’ll leave the “or” to Estwick. We’ll be watching.)

Stirring the pot does not make a new stew

Prime Minister David Thompson in better times.

“Who will be the next Prime Minister?” is the question that no one wanted to ask aloud a few months ago, but that taboo is long gone – never no mind the reassurances given by Mr. Thompson’s voice last night. After hearing that David Sinckler is now Minister of Finance there is no doubt at BFP who David Thompson feels should be his successor.

Because, let’s face it folks, Prime Minister Thompson is battling a deadly type of cancer and even if his prognosis is good it will sap his energy for many more months or longer. No matter the words that the PM used last night, this shuffle is his succession plan. It’s quick, it had to be done and it’s not perfect – but like the saying goes “Better a good plan now than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

The shame as we see it is that so many cabinet shuffles and personnel switches have limited the effectiveness and achievements of the DLP Government. The DLP should have been settled and productive after 2 years and 9 months in power, but with the PM’s illness and non-performance of some of his Ministers it’s almost like the election was yesterday and we’re again waiting to see what kind of government we’ll have.

And we’re not even talking about their outright breaking of the campaign promises that got them elected in the first place. Foundational promises like Integrity legislation, Freedom of Information, 2/3 Parliamentary approval for major land use changes, Ministerial code of conduct and so much, much more.

Captain to the bridge! Calling the Captain! … Captain? Hello?

The bridge crew can handle things for a while, but without a person in a clear position of authority the good ship Barbados is starting to wander in the rough weather ahead.

Reluctantly we are forced to admit that Mia Mottley’s comments on the cabinet shuffle are the sorry truth…

“I continue to empathize with Mr. Thompson as he battles against his illness. I understand that his health has forced him to shed some of his ministerial responsibilities, and that his focus must now be on his health and getting better.

It is unfortunate that the opportunity was lost to bring new energy and talent into the Cabinet. It was particularly noticeable during Mr. Thompson’s absence from office that his Ministers were not able to step up to the plate and were not equal to the task of dealing with the many issues facing the country.

We therefore do not expect that changing the same people to different portfolios will have different results this time around either.”

Further Reading

You can hear the Prime Minister’s speech and read Ian Bourne’s take at The Bajan Reporter article BREAKING NEWS: Cabinet Reshuffle for Barbados

Nation News: Sinckler takes Finance as PM names new-look Cabinet



Filed under Barbados, Politics

7 responses to “Barbados Cabinet Shuffle – Succession Planning under pressure

  1. Time will Tell

    BFP or Bust……………………..

    BFP, as predicted quite sometime ago, has become “irrelevant” a source for nothing more that irrelevant conclusions. The lack of moderate, honest, and fair dialog has rendered you intellectually void. It was you, who campaigned, substantiated and anointed this lame administration to office. Yet, merely months after its accession, you conveniently sought to discredit it………….You have sought absolute freedom of expression, while creatively subjecting that of your bloggers. Your malicious and deleterious behavior must first change, if you are ever to be considered a viable conduit for open dialog and constructive exchanges……….I will therefore donate $100.00 to any local charity at your direction, should you publish my written in its entirety…….

    Time will Tell

  2. BFP

    Hi Time Will Tell

    Thanks for contributing to the blog and to a local charity. Here’s what we want you to do with the $100: Give it to the good folks at the Hope Sanctuary.

    Please let us know when you have done so.

    You’re correct that only a few months after the DLP Government took power we identified that the Bajan public had been lied to by the DLP during the campaign. We predicted that they would not implement the integrity legislation promise that pushed them over the top to win the January 2008 election.

    We then followed through with our promise given during the election campaign in 2007 that if the DLP were lying to Barbadians we would hold them accountable and we have done so.

    The fact that you think the answer is a return to the crooks of your BLP is irrelevant.

    It is time for real change. It’s time to punish the political elites. It’s time to vote independent.

    I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it: Next time around many Bajans would vote for a dead cat before they’d support either of the two old tired parties of the elites.

  3. rasta man

    bajans will never vote for an independant

  4. Beefcake

    There is no real choice between BLP and DLP.

    The only way to have a proper voice would be for electoral changes with either option:

    1) Low voter turnout invalidates the poll;

    2) “None of the above” as a choice on the constituency ballot.

    While there are problems that arise from not having a conclusive election, at least the people will have the opportunity to democratically voice their displeasure.


    Never ?

    They voted for independents before and thay can do SO again

  6. Never

    100 votes is votes??

  7. 2797

    Richie wasted nuff money tryin to give wunnuh a third choice.

    Richie shoulda keep his money and laugh at wunnuh.

    You get the two-party state you deserve.
    Six of one = half doz. of the other.
    We LIKE it so.