Mia Mottley was sworn in as prime minister on Thursday afternoon, announcing that until she swears in her Cabinet next week, she will take responsibility for the health portfolio amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Mottley, who along with reappointed Attorney General Dale Marshall was sworn in by President Dame Sandra Mason at State House here, said she would give serious thought over the weekend to who would form her team of ministers.
“Over the course of the next few days, until the Cabinet is appointed, I will have to take responsibility for the Ministry of Health because that work with COVID, as you know, is a daily exercise. But I look forward to announcing the Cabinet on Monday, and therefore being able to ensure that once sworn in, that we will start with the business of the affairs of this country,” said Mottley, whose Barbados Labour Party (BLP) had hours earlier secured a second consecutive clean sweep at the polls.
The eight-time political candidate declined to share details about any possible changes, when pressed by journalists at the swearing-in ceremony that was also attended by her family as well as Santia Bradshaw, who will again be leader of government business in the House of Assembly; BLP General Secretary Dr Jerome Walcott; and General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), Toni Moore.
“I’m going to sleep on all of that this weekend. In life, I’ve learned that you don’t do things in extreme happiness or extreme anger, and that what is required is reflection and a little rest,” she said. “And over the course of this weekend, therefore, we will fine-tune the details of the government. We are clear that we have to be transformational and therefore, I do expect to have to make some changes in the structure of how government works.”
In a repeat of the 2018 general elections, Mottley’s BLP trounced all contenders, including its biggest challenger, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), in Wednesday’s polls – the first in Barbados since the country cast off the British monarchy and transitioned to a republic in November last year – winning all 30 seats in the House of Assembly.
The prime minister said that while she was both buoyed and humbled by the mandate given to the BLP by the electorate, it also placed “a tremendous burden” on the administration. She, therefore, promised “to be the government’s chief opposition, when necessary”.
“The one thing I know is that I must not in any way breach the oath of office that I just took, and that the people of this country must always know that the fairness which they value, the accountability which they need, and the transparency which is required will always be part and parcel of the functioning of this government,” Mottley said.
Marshall thanked the prime minister for having confidence in him to serve in her Cabinet in that position again.
“We left a lot of things still to be done, and I assure you that immediately, we will get to the heavy duties of carrying on with the business of government,” he said.