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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BRIDGETOWN323
2006-02-21 16:31:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Bridgetown
Cable title:  

BARBADOS CABINET RESHUFFLE INCLUDES FORMER

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  BB  XL 
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						UNCLAS BRIDGETOWN 000323 

SIPDIS

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SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL BB XL
SUBJECT: BARBADOS CABINET RESHUFFLE INCLUDES FORMER
OPPOSITION LEADER




1. SUMMARY: On February 18, Prime Minister Owen Arthur
announced a major cabinet reshuffle after months of
speculation that a change was eminent. The reorganization
added three new ministers to the cabinet, including former
opposition leader Clyde Mascoll as Minister of State in the
PM,s office, overseeing the Ministry of Finance. Six
ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley, had
their portfolios changed, and two ministers were stripped of
their positions completely. End Summary.

Mascoll,s Reward


--------------------------




2. After leaving his post as president of the opposition
Democratic Labor Party (DLP) in mid-January and crossing the
floor to the ruling Barbados Labor Party (BLP) (septel),
Clyde Mascoll has been rewarded with a seat in the Prime
Minister,s cabinet, Minister of State in the Ministry of
Finance. This move marks the first time in Barbados,
history that a former opposition leader has crossed over to
the ruling party and received a cabinet-level position. PM
Owen Arthur altered his own portfolio, dropping his
responsibilities as Minister of Economic Affairs and the
Civil Service, while retaining Minister of Finance, among
others. How much influence Mascoll will have in his new role
under the PM remains to be seen. (Note: Mascoll's inclusion
in the new cabinet, while noteworthy, is seen largely as a
demotion, and he has been criticized in the media for not
negotiating a better position before crossing over. End
Note.)

Mottley,s Lot


--------------------------




3. Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley will now head the newly
created Ministry of Economic Affairs and Development, leaving
her former post as Attorney General and Minister of Home
Affairs. PM Arthur indicated that this shift would give
Mottley the opportunity gain experience in the economic realm
and allow her to focus on policy implementation. (Note: This
shift plays directly to recent speculation that Arthur is
grooming Mottley to replace him as Party Leader and PM
sometime in the future. End Note.)

Booted


--------------------------




4. After seven years as Minister of Social Transformation,
Hamilton Lashley, largely touted as a grassroots politician,
was one of two ministers, and the only senior minister,
removed in the cabinet reshuffle. Lashley, like Mascoll, is
a former DLP member who switched parties in 1999 and was
rewarded with an appointment as the GOB's first Minister of
Social Transformation.

Other Appointments and Shifts


--------------------------




5. The two new ministerial appointments, in addition to
Mascoll, are Trevor Prescod, Minister of Social
Transformation and Reverend Joseph Atherley, Minister of
State in the Prime Minister,s office. Rev. Atherley was
formerly a Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Home
Affairs. Other ministerial shifts, aside from Mottley,
include:

- Dale Marshall, Attorney General and Minister of Home
Affairs from Minister of Industry and International Business
(no replacement);
- Anthony Wood, Minister of Education, Youth Affairs and
Sports from Minister of Energy and Public Utilities;
- Reginald Farley, Minister of Housing and Lands from
Minister of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports;
- Elizabeth Thompson, Minister of Energy and Environment from
Minister of Housing and Lands; and
- Rawle Eastmond, Minister of Labour and the Civil Service
from Minister of Labour and Social Security.

Comment


--------------------------




6. Political observers and opposition leaders see the
shuffle as merely a way for the PM to boost his popularity
without making any substantial changes in the ability of the
GOB to meet the challenges facing the nation. With elections
looming in 2008 and Arthur and the BLP vying for an
unprecedented fourth term, a shift like this is likely
intended to show the party in a fresh light and keep the
opposition on its toes. End Comment.
KRAMER