This Thursday will mark a week since the General Election which saw the PLP win 30 out of 36 seats; the OBA winning the remaining 6 and thus forming the Official Opposition.
As things currently stand, Mr. Craig Cannonier remains the Leader of the OBA and so will be sworn in as the Opposition Leader at some point (although it is no secret that there are many commentators on social media and the news sites calling for his resignation).
The Premier noted last week that he would be appointing his new Cabinet on Thursday, October 8th. At a minimum this will require at least one of his existing Cabinet Ministers to step down. This is because our Constitution requires that at least one of our Ministers be a Senator, and the election last week saw the entire PLP Senate team elected to the House of Assembly. As such, at least one new Minister will have to be announced tomorrow, along with at least one new Senator.
It is not clear if the entire new PLP Senate team will be announced tomorrow along with the Cabinet – however it is certainly likely.
Under the Constitution, the Government appoints 5 Senators, the Opposition 3, and the Governor appoints 3 Independent Senators. In general, we can expect the incumbent Independent Senators to be reappointed, so the speculation of course is who the PLP and the OBA will appoint.
NB – The relevant section of the Constitution here is Section 58(2):
“The other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor in accordance with the advice of the Premier and, of those Ministers, not less than one nor more than two shall be appointed from among the Senators and the remainder shall be appointed from among the members of the House of Assembly.”
While it is not always the case, often one can look at the unsuccessful candidates from the election as an obvious first choice for consideration.
For the PLP, needing to fill 5 Senate seats and having only 6 unsuccessful candidates, speculation will of course fall on these six:
- Owen Darrel
- Dr. Ernest Peets
- Lindsay Simmons
- Davida Morris
- Curtis Richardson
- Ariana Hodgson
With the PLP having made much ado about their record number of female candidates in this election, it is quite possible that the 3 women above are likely under consideration. Of course, there are also other likely picks, with the PLP Executive being potential picks too. And then there are wildcards – people not on anyone’s obvious radar.
For the OBA, they will be forming their shadow Cabinet, and likely doubling up portfolios due to their limited numbers in the House. For the Senate, they have to appoint 3 Senators. They certainly have a large number (30) of candidates to choose from, as well as from their Executive and wildcards to consider.
My guess is they will draw from their pool of failed candidates, and who the Leader chooses will give us an indication of what direction they will take. Will they consist of old-hands from the House for the sake of steadying the boat, or from their crop of new blood candidates as part of a reform initiative? My guess is probably a mix – at least one old-hand to lead the team, and two newbies.
Another consideration for the OBA will be the 5 seats that they only slightly lost, the ones that the PLP flipped. These are the obvious targets for the OBA to try and recover in the next election, so they may want to consider candidates that ran in them, namely:
- Leah Scott
- Marcus Jones
- Vic Ball
- Robin Tucker
- Jon Brunson
Leah Scott, as the OBA’s Deputy Leader is the obvious standout choice for an old-hand. Marcus Jones and Vic Ball as Senators in the previous Senate team are possibilities, however my feeling is that Robin Tucker and Jon Brunson stand a better chance for consideration. To be frank, the former Senators have had their time and lost seats they should have won, and so may be considered liabilities now.
Ultimately, one can only speculate. Tomorrow we’ll know at least the new PLP Cabinet team and at least one Senator, if not their entire Senate team. We will probably not know the OBA’s Senate team until closer to the new Senate is convened.
All the same, keep an eye out for news announcements tomorrow. My guess is around lunchtime.