Rabain, Furbert step in ahead of Cabinet shuffle
The education minister was revealed last night as the interim national security minister after Wayne Caines was forced to quit the role.
David Burt, the Premier, announced Diallo Rabain as the stopgap appointment on Twitter, the social-media site.
He added Wayne Furbert, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, will hold the fort as acting tourism and transport minister after Zane DeSilva was also forced to resign over a party at a plush restaurant where the two axed Cabinet members breached strict Covid-19 regulations.
Mr Burt said Mr Rabain and Mr Furbert would “act until next week when I will announce Cabinet changes as a result of yesterday's resignations.”
The news came after Mr Caines and Mr DeSilva were shown the door on Monday night.
The Premier acted three days after embarrassing social-media posts surfaced showing the two ignoring safety rules at a dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill Restaurant in Warwick on Friday night.
Speculation was rife among Progressive Labour Party sources yesterday on how Mr Burt would rebuild his Cabinet.
One PLP insider claimed: “There are two options: either you get the current ministers to fill the posts — you slim down the Cabinet like that — or there may be another woman who joins Cabinet.”
One party source said a woman candidate would be the best choice for taking over the tourism portfolio on a permanent basis.
Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, and Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Community Affairs and Sport, both MPs, and Kathy Lynn Simmons, a senator and Minister of Legal Affairs, are the three women who already have seats in the Cabinet.
Renée Ming, the MP for St George's North, and Tinée Furbert, the MP for St George's South, are the only other government women members of the House of Assembly.
The source said: “Either one is a strong candidate.”
The Bermuda Parliament website said that under the Constitution, “Cabinet consists of the Premier and a maximum of 12 ministers from the House of Assembly”.
It added: “A minimum of one minister has to be appointed from the Senate, or a maximum of two.”
Crystal Caesar, a government senator, is Junior Minister of Tourism and Transport and National Security, which could put her in a good position for a step up to Cabinet.
Lawrence Scott, the Government Whip, was sworn in as the temporary Minister of Tourism and Transport for ten days in January while Mr DeSilva was overseas.
Mr Burt said then that he used the Constitutional provision to appoint a temporary minister “as an opportunity to allow members of the legislature to develop professionally when a minister is travelling for a long term”.
Another name said to be in the mix for a ministerial position was Neville Tyrrell, who has had stints as caretaker at the health ministry.
A party source rejected the idea that the Cabinet would be weakened by the departure of Mr Caines and Mr DeSilva.
He said: “The strength of the Cabinet is determined by who the Premier puts in there.
“The PLP has many members — any member at any time can go into any position.”
Phil Perinchief, a political commentator and former PLP attorney-general, said that backbencher Rolfe Commissiong could take over national security and Christopher Famous, also a backbencher, could handle the tourism brief.
He added: “If we're talking about a shuffle within the Cabinet itself, I don't see any other fit, or a better fit, than these possibilities.
“Why? I believe the Premier could use this as a supreme opportunity to really shape his Cabinet if he has a snap election in mind because this would be a dress rehearsal for them, whereby he could test one or two, but certainly these two, to see how they begin to pan out in these positions before he — because only he will know — would call a snap election.”
Mr Perinchief said: “He's not facing any real, substantive Opposition and I believe a little shaking up in the ranks ... coming out of a fairly tense period, I think would be, believe it or not, a kind of a relief.”
He added: “It's unfortunate that it has happened the way it's happened with Zane DeSilva because his ministry was actually moving into the key area of resurrecting or bringing back this economy.”
He said: “I would think Chris Famous would be a pick, if I had to pick.
“With Rolfe, I think he has the toughness, he has the pedigree, he has the experience and I think that it's about time he was tested in a position that will take some very defined positions but ... I've watched his growth and I think he is beginning to mature.”
Mr Perinchief added that Mr Commissiong would benefit from a “strong team” around him if he was handed the national security portfolio.
He said that the remit would be a “good fit” for the Pembroke South East MP.