The Prime Minister, ministers and parliamentary secretaries in Barbados will now be entitled to four weeks’ vacation, whether it be here or abroad.
Describing it as a “grievous omission” from Barbados’ Constitution, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Dale Marshall, today in Parliament piloted amendments to three bills paving the way for those groups of persons to be entitled to vacation.
The bills passed in Parliament were the Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries (Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021, the Governor General (Condition of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021, and the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2021.
Marshall said he had not taken vacation in the past three years, since he was sworn in as Attorney General in May 2018.
He explained that vacation was only granted if a minister travelled overseas.
“This situation has been the law of Barbados since Independence and it continues to this date. I don’t want to suggest that the current Cabinet of Barbados is so battle-weary that we are in need of rest…but there are some things that we take for granted.
“We’ve come a long way since then but I regret to say that we have not come a long way since then in respect of the members of Cabinet. So none of us who is on the front bench would have had a holiday of any kind since coming to Parliament in May of 2018,” Marshall said.
“We have our day-to-day responsibilities as ministers which takes up so much of our time that there is none left, and then we have the overarching responsibility of being a member of Parliament which then requires us to do the work at a constituency level, and then whatever time is left we carve it out for our families and friends and try to keep body and soul together. This is not a plea for empathy or sympathy, it is a simple reality that we face, that for too long we have laboured in an environment that is not only unhealthy but it is impractical.”
He said the amendments would allow those categories of workers to receive four weeks of paid vacation leave.
Marshall said the Prime Minister would apply to the Governor General for holiday.
He pointed out that if the Governor General wishes to stay in Barbados while on holiday that would be paid at Government’s expense in accommodation.
The AG further explained that the amendments would allow for both Prime Minister Mia Mottley and himself to remain in Barbados on vacation while another person acted in their positions.
Marshall said as it stood now that could only happen if he and Mottley were out of the island. (RB)