Some of the men and women who once ran the country have been appointed shadow cabinet ministers, the Free National Movement (FNM) announced yesterday.
Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis named a 12-member shadow cabinet, including himself, to oversee the Christie administration’s 21 cabinet ministers.
A shadow cabinet is made up of senior MPs who are out of power. Together, under the leadership of the Opposition leader, they form an alternative cabinet to the government’s cabinet.
The line-up also includes many former FNM candidates who failed to secure a majority of votes in the recent general election.
The list is headed by Dr. Minnis, who once served as minister of health. He is the shadow minister for national security and health.
FNM Deputy Leader and Montagu MP Loretta Butler-Turner, who up until the FNM’s defeat at the polls served as minister of social services, will shadow her former ministry and national insurance.
Central Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant, who once served as minister of works, was appointed shadow minister for works and urban development.
Former Education Minister Desmond Bannister is the shadow minister for education, science and technology.
Former State Minister for Finance Zhivargo Laing is the shadow minister for Finance and financial services.
Central and South Abaco MP Edison Key, who once served as the executive chairman for the Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation (BAIC), has been named shadow minister for agriculture, marine resources and local government.
St. Anne’s MP Hubert Chipman will speak on foreign affairs and immigration.
East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest is the Opposition spokesman for Grand Bahama.
Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn is the shadow minister for the Attorney General’s Office and legal affairs.
North Eleuthera MP Theo Neilly will speak on tourism, transport and aviation.
FNM Senator Kwasi Thompson is the shadow minister for environment and housing.
FNM Senator Heather Hunt will speak youth, sports & culture.
In the House of Assembly, Dr. Minnis will be the spokesperson for youth, sports, culture and Environment.
Mr. Chipman will speak on education, science and technology in the House.
Mr. Turnquest will speak on finance and Mr. Grant will speak on housing.
“Each of these appointees will have primary responsibility to speak in the House of Assembly or the Senate on their areas of designated portfolio responsibility on behalf of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition,” Dr. Minnis said yesterday.
“The duty of a shadow minister is precisely that, to shadow and keep track of all the policy initiatives, actions and defaults of the substantive cabinet minister, to advance alternative policy or principled arguments on behalf of the Opposition and the Bahamian people, and to assist the leader of the Opposition, as likely future cabinet ministers, in charting the course towards victory in the next general elections.”
The shadow cabinet is an established feature of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy, and flows from the constitutional authority of the leader of the Opposition in Parliament to be prepared at a moment’s notice to form a new government, should the occasion arise.