Appointing Cabinet ministers 

Dear Editor,

Recently, I stumbled across a photo of the first Pindling Cabinet in 1967.

I counted 11 Cabinet ministers including the prime minister himself.

Since then, there has been an exponential increase in the number of Cabinet ministers by succeeding administrations, including this one.

Today, the Davis administration has about 27 ministers (correct me), which more than doubles that of the first Pindling Cabinet.

The present Cabinet is perhaps the largest in the history of the country and there are only about three or four backbenchers within the governing party.

Prime ministers have expanded their cabinets as a means to guarantee loyalty or lessen the possibility of revolt within their governments. They reasoned that if there are less backbenchers there would be less background noises. It’s a way to stifle dissent. But where opinions clash democracy flourishes (unknown).

This is not rocket science. No one is fooled. After all, Cabinet ministers are merely figure heads who are responsible for enacting policies. Permanent secretaries, directors, and their support staff technically run these ministries.

This can hardly be seen as a stroke of genius, but it is nonetheless effective, bearing in mind that our prime minister is overly forgiving and lacks the killer instincts that are often necessary for survival in politics.

An MP’s salary is about $28,000 annually. The salary of a Cabinet minister is about $66,000 annually, which when combined, amounts to roughly $94,000. Not bad.

Cabinets ministers are bound to secrecy. They have collective responsibility and so, ministers know that they have to toe the line or risk being dismissed from Cabinet. The proverbial hooks are deeply embedded in their jaws and so they dare not attempt to swim against the political tide.

While a prime minister can choose whatever number of Cabinet ministers he so desires, remember, it is us the Bahamian public who pays their salaries.

The unvarnished truth is difficult to digest.


— Zephaniah Burrows

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