Prime Minister’s address to the nation on Cabinet Resuffle

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Prime Minister David Thompson??

Fellow Barbadians, residents, friends and well wishers –

I am honored to be spared this opportunity as your leader to renew our special relationship and update you on our partnership to build a better democracy and a better Barbados. I assure you that working together we can uphold each other and build a glorious legacy for our children.

Last week Dr. Richard Ishmael, my personal physician, issued at my request, a full statement on the condition of my health and the challenges which have confronted me since March. I am again grateful to those of you who have responded with overwhelming love and compassion towards me and my family.

On this occasion I have chosen not to speak to you by live telecast. The nature of my medical treatment has occasioned obvious weight loss. I would rather that you get the portent of my message rather than the picture; and be concerned about the message, not the medium.

While we cannot control what happens to us, we can control how we respond to what happens to us. In that sense I wish to assure you that my family and I are determined to battle this illness and are fully co-operating with the medical teams here and in New York, to ensure that all that’s humanly possible is done to arrest and reverse this condition, while humbly recognizing that ultimately the Will of God will prevail. We are well aware that the future of us all rests in the hands of the Almighty. In recognition of this truth, I continue to solicit your intercession and prayers.

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians pleaded with the Lord to remove his impediment, but the Lord said: "My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness".

Thus I am able to rejoice in hope and be gracious through faith.

All relationships, including those between premier and people, involve times of closeness and times of distance. I have grown to appreciate you in both circumstances, and I hope your experience has been the same.

In the meantime my reduced physical capacity has placed a strain on my ability to serve you as I would dearly want to, particularly in these challenging economic times when the signs are clear that full global economic recovery is still a fair distance away.

One of the blessings of my extended periods in North America is the opportunity to read and observe, on a daily basis, the performance and analyses associated with the U.S, European and North East Asian economies.

We in Barbados and the wider Caribbean should not bamboozle ourselves with the notion that recovery is dependent on factors of our exclusive design and making.

The approach of our partnership over the past two and a half years has been to cautiously but judiciously proceed; while ensuring at all times the maintenance of a desired social protective net for the most vulnerable. We will not be deviated from this path for it is most difficult to build a lasting democracy when the needs of daily shelter and daily living remain a struggle for far too many among us on this island.

That is why you may not have seen an abundance of buildings going up across the country, but there has been an improvement in the quality of health care, better management and operation of social welfare agencies such as the National Assistance Board, the Urban and Rural Development Commissions, the National Housing Corporation, Child Care Board and associated agencies, and the upkeep of our schools and conditions of work for public officers. Additionally, we have made the sacrifice of containing bus fares and have even offered free access thereto, to school children.

Fellow Citizens and Friends, these are all deliberate strategies geared to cushion the shock and to minimize the impact of the economic decline.

The weeks and months ahead will be equally challenging and it is for that reason that I have assessed the future, in the context of my illness and reduced capacity, and have determined that it is necessary and prudent that I divest aspects of my ministerial portfolio that require robust, day to day oversight.

But before I outline proposed changes to the Cabinet of Barbados, I wish to address a matter of fundamental concern to me, as head of government.

Fellow Barbadians, Ladies and Gentlemen, General Elections are held in Barbados every five years. Historically, in the intervening period we have always conducted ourselves in a focused, mature and patriotic manner. We have placed the best interest of Barbados foremost in our consideration.

The Right Excellent Errol Barrow taught us that size does not have to be a deterrent to greatness. And former Prime Minister Tom Adams had a vision for Barbados that defied our limited landscape. Indeed, former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, on his visit to Barbados in 2002, noted that Barbados was a country "punching above its weight".

If we can unite first and foremost as sons and daughters of these fields and hills we call our very own, nothing will hold us back. We did it in the 60s and 70s, and we make no wanton boast of what we can achieve.

Michael Jackson of late memory reminded us in his song "We are the world" that change will only come when we stand together as one.

In his seminal work he wrote:

"There comes a time, when we heed a certain call, when the world must come together as one. There are people dying, and it’s time to lend a hand to life; the greatest gift of all.

"We can’t go on, pretending day by day, that someone, somewhere will soon make a change. We are all a part, of God’s great big family, and the truth, you know, love is all we need."

That’s my fondest wish for Barbadians. That we use adversity to refocus our energies on what’s best for Barbados and that we wrap our actions and our utterances in the national flag and the furtherance of this great nation we call home. That’s my challenge to you. Unite and love.

With respect to the path forward, I have today advised his Excellency, the Governor General to reconfigure the Cabinet as follows, as of October 4th 2010:

Hon. David Thompson – Prime Minister and Minister of National Security

Hon. Freundel Stuart – Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs

Hon. Christopher Sinckler – Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs

Hon. Ronald Jones – Minister of Education and Human Resource Development

Hon. Michael Lashley – Minister of Housing, Lands, Urban and Rural Development

Hon. Patrick Todd – Minister of State in the Ministry of Housing, Lands, Urban and Rural Development with responsibilities for Urban and Rural Development

Hon. John Boyce – Minister of Transport and Works.?? Mr. Boyce will also assume the added responsibility of Leader of the House

Hon. Denis Lowe – Minister of Drainage, Water Resource Management and Environment

Hon. Donville Inniss – Minister of Health

Hon. Richard Sealy – Minister of Tourism

Dr. the Hon. David Estwick – Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business Development

Dr. the Hon. Esther Byer-Suckoo – Minister of Labour

Hon. Steve Blackett – Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development

Hon. Stephen Lashley – Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth

Sen. Hon. Haynesley Benn – Minster of Commerce and Trade

Hon. George Hutson – Minister of International Transport and International Business

Sen. Hon. Maxine McClean – Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

Sen. Hon. Darcy Boyce – Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibilities for Energy, Immigration, Telecommunications and Investment

Sen. Irene Sandiford-Garner – Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health

Senator Harry Husbands – Parliamentary Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister

Senator Jepter Ince – Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs

These changes will accelerate the delivery of vital policies and services. I have every confidence in the public service of Barbados to implement such, with the efficiency and alacrity that is required.

I take this opportunity to reassure you that I continue to feel greatly blessed, highly favored and deeply loved. Thank you for your expressions of support and fervent prayers during this testing period.

May God bless Barbados and may grace and peace be multiplied unto all Barbadians.

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