18-year-old poised to join Barbados Senate

On the premise that “if you are old enough to vote, you must be old enough to serve”, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley on Monday evening signalled the intention to appoint 18-year-old former Queen’s College student Khaleel Kothdiwala as a Senator in the new Barbados Cabinet.

However, by virtue of his age, the 2021 Barbados Scholar is currently unable to do so, prompting the need for a Constitutional amendment.

Mottley addressed the nation four days after successfully securing a second consecutive 30-0 victory at the polls. She said her Government had an ambitious “transformative agenda”.

Khaleel Kothdiwala (FILE)

“It is in my view, an anomaly, that someone who is 18 years old in Barbados, has the right to vote, but they do not have the capacity to serve in the Senate of our nation,” Mottley said.

“It is therefore my intention to correct this by asking the Cabinet to agree – and Parliament thereafter – to bring a Constitutional amendment to allow an 18-year-old to serve in the Senate of Barbados for the first time. I propose, should it be accepted and successful, that Senator Khaleel Kothdiwala should be that person who will serve as a Senator.”

This is one of several proposed changes to the Upper House, although a few things remain.

Among those returning are President Reginald Farley; Lisa Cummins, the Minister of Tourism and International Transport, now as Leader of Government Business; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Senior Minister, The Most Honourable Jerome Walcott as well as Dr Crystal Haynes.

Elizabeth Thompson and Patricia Parris will be back in the Upper House after some time, the former as deputy president. Former Minister with responsibility for Culture, John King, will also serve as a Senator.

Meanwhile, Shantal Munroe-Knight will be a new addition to the Senate by virtue of her appointment as a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office. The other Government Senators are Shanika Roberts-Odle, Lorenzo Harewood and Andwele Boyce.

The Most Honourable Dame Sandra Mason, President of Barbados, will appoint the Independent Senators.  (SAT)

 

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