The Government of Barbados and the people of Barbados should be commended on the manner in which the honorable Fruendel Stuart has been sworn into the office of prime minister (PM) without any difficulties following the death of the late David Thompson earlier this morning.
Mr. Stuart's appointment must be in keeping with the Barbados Constitution so as to prevent any future hiccups.
Performance of Prime Minister's functions in certain events
67. 1. Whenever the Prime Minister is unable, by reason of his illness or absence from Barbados, to perform the functions of his office, the Governor General may, by instrument under the Public Seal, authorize any other Minister who is a member of the House of Assembly to perform the functions conferred on the Prime Minister by this Constitution (other than the functions conferred by subsection (3)).
2. The Governor General may, by instrument under the Public Seal, revoke any authority given under this section.
3. The powers conferred on the Governor General by this section shall be exercised by him acting in his discretion if in his opinion it is impracticable to obtain the advice of the Prime Minister owing to the Prime Minister's illness or absence, and in any other case shall be exercised by the Governor General in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.
What one may interpret here from the excerpt is that in the PM's absence, he may nominate a Member of Parliament to hold the office of acting Prime Minister while he/she is away from the office.
On his return, the Acting Prime Minister would be resolved of his duties, and one would suspect that the correspondence between the PM and the Governor General would become null and void.
If this were the case, then the passing of the Prime Minister would mean that the Governor General would then have to be called upon to nominate the a new PM, unless the PM before his death had asked the Governor General to allow another MP to operate in the office of Prime Minister because he the PM, was unable to do so.
In the case of Mr. Freundel Stuart, the parliamentary group met and elected him as leader and via a signed letter, according to Mr. Denis Kellman, Mr. Stuart was elected as the Prime Minister so as to be accepted by the Governor General.
The Governor General acting on section 65.1 of the Constitution would have appointed who carried the most support. Since this is totally at the discretion of the GG, it seems he could have elected any Member of Parliament without the consent of the ruling party.
Section 65.1 - Whenever the Governor General has occasion to appoint a Prime Minister he shall, acting in his discretion, appoint the member of the House of Assembly who, in his judgment, is best able to command the confidence of a majority of the members of that House.
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