Recently, partly as a result of the continuing failure of Chris Sinckler as minister of finance and prime minister Freundel Stuart’s hesitance in removing him from office, questions have been raised about the constitutionality of a Cabinet reshuffle. It is a subject that will take up a considerable amount of time by constitutional experts such as lawyers, political ‘scientists’, parliamentary historians, legal philosophers and others. However, for a non-lawyer with a cursory interest in politics and in how the Westminster/Whitehall model has shaped Caribbean politics, I find the subject one of intrigue. One person who has added his highly informed, articulate and knowledgeable voice to the debate is Caswell Franklyn. Mr Franklyn has a wealth of knowledge about Barbadian Constitutional law and his suggestion, to paraphrase him, that before the prime minister could carry out a Cabinet reshuffle he must first make seek the approval of the Governor General, the Queen’s representative, raised a number of questions in my mind. I will not be so bold as to challenge Mr Franklyn about the constitutionality of a Cabinet reshuffle in the local jurisdiction, my contention, however, is that if parliamentary politics in Barbados have adopted the so-called Westminster/Whitehall model, then this is strange.
The controversy started because of the state of the economy and the government’s apparent inability to devise a rescue plan. In such circumstances attention obviously focuses on the incumbents in the high offices of state, principally the prime minister and minister of finance.