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Jul 5, 2012

Appointed ministers above elected ministers

Dean Barrow

The Cabinet is made up of seventeen elected representatives as well as four ministers appointed from the Senate; Lisel Alamilla, Godwin Hulse, Joy Grant and Charles Gibson. But the entire dynamic of the senator ministers changed on January nineteenth, when Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, was relieved of his responsibilities for Immigration. That portfolio was transferred to the Ministry of Local Government, Labour and NEMO…Minister of State Elvin Penner was also transferred to Hulse’s ministry. Translation: elected representative Elvin Penner became a junior minister to appointed minister Hulse. The question now is whether the new dynamics will create friction between Penner and Hulse. That question was posed to PM Dean Barrow earlier this week; here’s his response.


Dean Barrow

“Constitutionally, a certain degree of authority, a certain degree of responsibility flows from being a minister. How you get there is another matter. So I—that is, to my mind, the short legal answer. Practically speaking, I would say two things. I believe that Minister Penner is mature enough to accept the fact that, because of the constitution and because of our inability to receive the massive mandate that I had requested and desired—and I won’t say who is to blame—we are left in a position where they must be these three ministers that are senators. I think that all of us in Cabinet, all the elected ministers—you might ask the question, or an extension of your question or the thought might be well, why shouldn’t people who are elected and are ministers of state and not full ministers, whether their full minister is a senator or not, why should they not be upset that “I run, I win yet I dah wah minister of state; somebody weh noh run dah wah full minister”, but them’s the breaks. So I believe that there is that degree of maturity on the part of our elected members. The second point, Godwin Hulse, all three of the Senator ministers are doing extremely well. Godwin is proving to be an especially invaluable asset. I am sure that elected members had at best a kind of wait and see attitude when I selected Godwin Hulse. But I can tell you that all of them are now believers because of the way Godwin conducts himself in House meetings, because of the obvious breadth of his experience and knowledge, because of his capacity for hard work and because of his ability to understand human nature and to know how to treat with his fellows, including those that initially might have harbored a degree of resentment because they ran, they worked and they were elected and he wasn’t. He has handled it beautifully; he has won the complete respect and support of the elected colleagues and I think therefore that we shouldn’t expect any difficulty, except that life tells us you always expect the unexpected.”

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10 Responses for “Appointed ministers above elected ministers”

  1. Rod says:

    Worse pm and gov . In the history of belize now they are murderering women and children and still not a word from this incompetent pm and gov march belizeans tienen que marchar a la casa de barrow saquen lo de su position you might be next or one of your family members arch belizeans.

  2. Ricky Malthus says:

    While I agree that Penner is no intellectual match for the dipsomaniac Hulse, Barrow’s justification and rationale for the status quo is riddled with horse manure.

  3. dunfedup says:

    Translation: Penner lacks the intellectual fortitude for the job. He wouldn’t be a minister at all if he hadn’t LIED to the good people of his riding.

  4. Escher12 says:

    WTF…..Did Barrow just pull a double talk move. and did not really answer the question that was posed..Nice move

  5. Eye in the Sky says:

    Why have elections for minister in Belize. You just have to be a well connected crony to the PM and you too will be a government minister.
    It was that way under the PUP and continues under the UDP.

  6. Storm says:

    Forgetting the personalities involved, I think we would be better served to have the ministries entirely separated from the National Assembly, so there is a real “check and balance.”

    And I think that would reduce [ever so slightly] the effect of crude politics on how government ministries operate.

    We can’t really claim to have a separation of powers when ministries are headed by elected politicians. And the popularity and skill at campaigning to get elected has nothing whatever to do with the qualifications to run a department of government.

    Sure, I know this idea would call for major amendment to the Constitution, but I personally believe it will be better for the nation and our children to have it so.

  7. Starky says:

    I totally agree with the fact that ministers suppose to be a job, not a reward. In this sense, only qualified individuals suppose to hold the posts!

  8. BT says:

    There are no “elected ministers”. Some people get elected to the house of representatives, others get appointed to the senate. From the members of those two houses, the PM selects his cabinet.

  9. from the West says:

    Storm is right on. Lets seperate the executive from the legislative.

  10. Initiate! says:

    Storm: “the popularity and skill at campaigning to get elected has nothing whatever to do with the qualifications to run a department of government.”

    That is what needs to be realized more..

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