18 July, 2007


Constitutional Discussions 7: Cabinet. At present, section 23 of the Constitution provides for an Executive Council, or Cabinet, consisting of the Chief Minister, or Premier, three Ministers, and the Deputy Governor and Attorney-General. It is widely accepted on the island that the number of Ministers is too low.

The Minister of Finance can hardly be expected to attend all the local, regional, and international meetings and functions related to that Ministry and still find time to be in office. It is even more unreasonable to expect him to function full-time as a Minister of Tourism, and to attend all the tourism activities that a properly functioning Minister of Tourism is expected to attend.

Similarly, the Minister of Education cannot be an efficient and effective Minister of Health. Nor can the Chief Minister and Minister of Home Affairs and Labour also perform effectively as Minister of Lands.

We have to have more Ministers. The Commission heard several different representations from the public. We took into account the fact that burdensome as the various Ministries are now, the weight of office will grow in the coming years as Anguilla continues to develop at breakneck speed. We came down on the number six. That is, there should be a Premier and five Ministers. Even if there is a little leeway now in that we can do with one fewer Minister, we thought we should fix the maximum at six. The Premier could always appoint only five. He is not obliged to fill the maximum number if he does not think it necessary. The Constitution we put in place today will almost certainly be the one we are working with in ten years time.

Members of the House of Assembly did not agree. They were of the view that the job could be done with a Premier and four Ministers. The government members agreed with the opposition members that they prefer the new Constitution to say that the maximum number of Ministers, including the Premier, be five.

I still cannot for the life of me see how they could make such a mistake. It makes no sense at all.

1 comment:

  1. I must be naive.

    Why should there be any Constitutional limit (minimum or maximum) on the number of Ministers? What would it achieve?

    In other countries, I am not aware that the Prime Minister or Executive is constrained or circumscribed by a number (minimum or maximum) that can be appointed.

    In some cases or times there may need to be more Ministers than others

    They also have Junior Ministers.


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