Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation

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March 19th, 2022

18 year old Khaleel Kothdiwala will have to wait at least three more years before he is able to become a Senator.

In a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, it was revealed Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley opted not to pursue her bid to have him appointed as a Senator, in light of the clear indication by Independent Senators that they would not have supported the measure.

At Friday’s sitting of the Senate, Leader of Government Business, Senator Lisa Cummins adjourned Debate on the constitutional motion after it became evident the required two-thirds majority vote would not have been achieved.

The Bill before the Chamber sought to not only enable an 18 year old to serve in the Chamber, but also to provide for the appointment of two Senators nominated by the party securing the second highest number of votes in the preceding election.

The statement went on to reveal that Prime Minister Mottley met today with Kothdiwala. She said disappointing him was one of the most difficult and painful acts of her tenure to date as Prime Minister of Barbados.

She described it as unfortunate, that in the midst of global turmoil with respect to youth in crisis, Barbados found itself at a point where embracing young people and youthful leadership was still beyond its imagination.

Prime Minister Mottley added “Why it is so painful as a Barbadian that this is happening, is that in countries around us, when the moment of truth came they rose to the occasion. Two recent examples that come to mind was the election to parliament in St. Lucia of a 21 year old female and her subsequent appointment 18 months later as Minister in charge of the vital tourism industry.”

Reflecting on events in Dominica a couple years later, she noted, “You had a then 27 year old, following the tragic deaths of two successive Prime Ministers in office, being asked to assume the mantle of leadership at so young an age. Many said then he was way too young, but today, 23 years later he is still the prime minister of that country and everyone would agree that he will go down in the annals of history as one of the best leaders this region ever had.”

In summing up the development, the Prime Minister noted historians would have the last say on the matter.

While assuring Kothdiwala that his turn would come, she announced that he has been invited to be an honorary member of the Barbados Labour Party’s parliamentary party, noting that “he has a perspective that needs to be shared and that we need to hear as we shape a post COVID Barbados.”

Meanwhile Kothdiwala said “even though not having climbed the historic stairs of Parliament in my intended capacity, I am nonetheless humbled that a government would go to such lengths to create the opportunity for the voices of 18-20-year olds who can vote to be heard in the ultimate chamber of decision-making.”

He maintained that he will continue to pursue his academic studies while remaining a keen student of governance and the management of public life in Barbados.

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