Dominicans have been told that reducing the size of the cabinet of ministers is off the books right now since such a move will not be have any major impact on the country’s financial position.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit at a press conference last week that the matter is not an urgent one.
“I don’t think at this time the reduction of the size of the cabinet is going to make any real impact …” he said. “So I don’t think that it is something that is an urgent matter as now, if down the road it becomes an issue for the government in terms of the government’s ability, then the government will look at it. But it is not a matter on the agenda now for consideration.”
Many calls have been made in the past for governemt to reduce the size of its 18-member cabinet. Some have argued that the island’s economy is too small to support such a large cabinet pointing out that larger islands with better economic situations have smaller cabinets. After the passage of Tropical Storm Erika, the opposition, United Workers Party (UWP) renewed the call, saying in light of the present situation the matter is even more urgent.
But Skerrit is of the opinion that the cabinet is just fine.
“I don’t think it’s too large,” he stated.
He also queried whether the government should reduce the size of the public service or state corporation such as DBS Radio and Dominica Air and Sea Port Authority (DASPA), describing the matter as a ‘low hanging fruit.’
“I mean it is a low hanging fruit, it is a politically low hanging fruit,” he stated. “At this time for example, when there is so much work to be done, I mean I have had ministers who have been at it for the last six weeks with no break whatsoever. They are members of parliament so they are responsible for constituencies in most cases, they have to come to their offices full time as a minister.”
He insisted that he does not have the amount of staff that people think he has and whenever someone is hired, despite that individual’s skills and talents, there is criticisms “in these small islands.”
However, the Prime Minister did not dismiss the idea all together.
“I’m not dismissing it, if that the view of the country to reduce the size of the cabinet and give Roosevelt Skerrit more work to do, then let’s look at it,” he said.