Not qualified

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Two Government Senators announced by Prime Minister Mia Mottley are still not in a position to take their places in the Upper House.

They are Kay McConney, who had been named as Minister of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology, and Rawdon Adams, son of the late Prime Minister Tom Adams.

It has emerged that McConney and Adams have not satisfied the requirements under Section 37 B of the Constitution of Barbados which specifically states that “subject to the provision of Section 38, any person at the date of his appointment (A) is a citizen of Barbados of the age of 21 years and upward, and (B) has been an ordinarily resident in Barbados for the immediately preceding 12 months, shall be qualified to be appointed as a Senator”.

Kay McConney and Rawdon Adams

The two were included in the parliamentary lineup following the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) clean sweep of the polls on May 24, which has since resulted in one defection. Member of Parliament St Michael West Bishop Joseph Atherley has since crossed the floor to become the Leader of the Opposition, leaving Mottley with the remaining 29 seats under her command.

However, official sources have confirmed to Barbados TODAY that Adams and McConney will not be among those taking their places in the Senate during tomorrow’s sitting marking the official opening of the two Houses of Parliament.

Commenting on the development, newly sworn Opposition Senator and trade unionist Caswell Franklyn criticized Mottley for overlooking several other qualified BLP members to import Adams and McConney.

However, Government has made known its intention to amend the relevant section of the Constitution which is currently at issue with Franklyn also serving notice that when the proposed amendment reaches the Senate, he will vote against it.

“Why is this necessary? I find it offensive that they would come to amend the Constitution at a time like this when there was no notice . . . . The people didn’t know . . . they didn’t campaign on it; it was not in their manifesto. You don’t just come and amend the Constitution just like that . . . because they can,” he said, while acknowledging that “they have the power to do it because they have the majority”.

The outspoken trade unionist said the development was evidence that the 30-nil victory given to the BLP amounted to a dangerous precedent, which has put too much power in the hands of the Prime Minister, especially since she has no backbench.

“We are now fast approaching the stage where we are going to have a Prime Ministerial dictatorship. They could amend the Constitution to do what they like.

“When the House meets, I am going to oppose it because I believe it is wrong. You do not tamper with the Constitution. The Constitution is a very serious document. Amending the Constitution is becoming too flippant,” he said.

Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Public Affairs Lucille Moe could not be reached for comment and when contacted today Attorney General Dale Marshall declined to speak on the issue.

emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb

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