By Sharon Austin
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (BGIS) — The new Barbados government will continue its strong global engagement. Prime minister Mia Amor Mottley made this disclosure today after she and attorney general Dale Marshall were sworn in by the president of Barbados, Dame Sandra Mason, at State House.
Prime minister Mottley took the Oath at 11:03 a.m. and signed the document one minute later, with Marshall following at 11:05 a.m. After Wednesday’s general elections, the Barbados Labour Party, led by Mottley, was again returned to Government with a 30-0 mandate.
The prime minister told the media: “This manifesto has been far more strategic because we recognise that you almost have to learn to read the ball and play the shots as they come because of the manner in which the world is functioning today, and therefore we will have to continue a strong engagement globally because it allows us the fiscal and policy space to do what we need to do.
“But, at the same time, it also allows us as a small nation to be able to contribute in our own meaningful way to making the world a better place.”
In thanking Barbadians for the mandate given to her government, she promised that, as in the past, her team would carry out their obligations with care as they continued the process of transformation, to allow the country to meet the expected challenges in 10 to 15 years.
“We’ve laid out a number of these but we also recognise that we are living in a very dynamic environment and that apart from those challenges, there are still the aspirations of development that we set ourselves as a nation when we became Independent in 1966.
“Closing the development gap, eliminating poverty from our landscape, ensuring that our children can be educated to the maximum and to the best of their ability, and of course, ensuring that our people have affordable and equitable access to health care, and above all else, that our people shall remain owners in their land and not tenants in their land [are some of those aspirations],” Mottley outlined.
She stressed that a process of enfranchisement had been undertaken successfully by different governments.
The prime minister disclosed that she would announce her new cabinet next Monday and that in the interim, she would take responsibility for the ministry of health, as the work with COVID-19 was a daily exercise.
When asked if there would be changes to the ministries, she said she would reflect on that over the next few days. “Over the … weekend … we will fine-tune details. […] We are clear that we have to be transformational, and therefore I do expect to have to make some changes to the structure of how Government works.
“I’ve already spoken … about the fact that we need the People’s Assemblies to be more responsive to the people of the nation, especially in the delivery of services. […] The office of the prime minister is seen as that place where all complaints ultimately come, for all aspects of things public and private. So, we are giving serious thought as to how best to structure that and may make some innovations in there,” Mottley said, “humbled by the confidence” of the people. She added that the fairness they valued, the accountability they needed and the transparency required would always be a part of her government.
Attorney general Marshall thanked prime minister Mottley for again having an opportunity to serve. He said there were a lot of things still to be done and gave the assurance that he would get on with his duties.