by Shawn Cumberbatch
Dr. David Estwick was the lone no-show when members of Barbados’ new Cabinet took the oath of office this morning.
But Prime Minister Freundel Stuart will not be losing any sleep over it and said he was assured by Estwick himself, who he re-appointed as Minister of Agriculture, that he would be sworn-in either tomorrow or Monday.
The St. Philip West MP’s absence was the hot topic this morning at Government House at a ceremony that started more than an hour late.
Speaking afterwards, Stuart said Estwick was absent because he was unwell.
“I know it is fashionable to try to weave mythologies around Dr. Estwick’s behaviour. I was in touch with Dr. Estwick as recently as when I got here this morning,” Stuart said.
“He could scarcely hear what I was saying because of my voice and I could scarcely hear what he was saying because of his and he indicated to me that he did not feel that he could do it this morning based on how he was feeling and he would be prepared, as long as he is feeling better, to make himself available tomorrow morning.
“I am only here this morning quite frankly because my Cabinet colleagues are being sworn in, quite frankly my voice itself is under severe pressure.
“He’s in perfect mood, eager to get on with the work he started as Minister of Agriculture in 2010 in the month of September and excited about the prospects of the government,” he added.
The Prime Minister said Estwick was a valued member of his team and had “worked very, very hard during the campaign”.
“It should come as no surprise to anybody because he was one of the persons who basically lost his voice in the campaign, I didn’t lose mine. I lost mine subsequently, but he is in perfect shape and looking forward to the challenges ahead, as a very good member of the team, very hard working, intellectually very sharp, politically very exciting and a good colleague in all of the circumstances,” he stated.
Stuart assured Barbadians he was leading a united government.
“All members of the Cabinet named by me and announced last night are on board and an atmosphere of tranquility and camaraderie, cordiality and collegiality and all those states of being exist in the government,” he said. [email protected]