A major Cabinet reshuffle is expected in the wake of Premier Dr. Ewart Brown’s departure in October.

Sports and Environment Minister Glenn Blakeney and Minister Without Portfolio Zane DeSilva are likely to be casualties in any shake-up, PLP sources told us yesterday.

Labour, Immigration and Home Affairs Minister Colonel David Burch is also understood to be considering retiring from politics.

Rolfe Commissiong’s consultancy position as race relations advisor is likely to go, along with Marc Bean’s post as advisor on CARICOM matters.

The Premier’s personal aides — press secretary Jamahl Simmons and chief of staff Dale Jackson — are also expected to be replaced as the new Premier brings in his or her own people.

Works and Engineering Minister Derrick Burgess is said to be interested in the Deputy Premier’s position with backbencher Randy Horton, Education Minister El James and Health Minister Walter Roban also highlighted as potential candidates.

Terry Lister is a respected figure in the party but it is unclear whether he would accept a Cabinet post or the deputy premiership if he loses out in the leadership race to Paula Cox.

Attorney General Kim Wilson may be shuffled to a new role if Larry Mussenden, who has previously held the post, returns to the Senate.

Mr. Mussenden is a close political ally of current Deputy Premier Ms Cox and many pundits believe she would look to bring him back into the fold.

It is possible that Mr. Mussenden, who is also campaigning for the Bermuda Football Association presidency, could be offered a different position — potentially Sports Minister.

But the lawyer, who has just opened his own private practice, is unlikely to accept a Senate position without the carrot of a Cabinet post.

Once Dr. Brown officially resigns, all five PLP Senate posts, including those of AG Ms Wilson and Senate leader Colonel David Burch, become officially vacant.

Assuming Paula Cox is victorious in her leadership bid and accounting for Dr. Brown’s departure that would leave six major ministries empty — finance, tourism, transport, labour and immigration, home affairs and the justice department.

Further complicating matters is the fact that Ms Wilson, viewed as a rising star in the party, is bidding to stand as an MP in the by-election for Dr Brown’s Warwick West constituency.

If she is nominated as the PLP candidate in that ballot she would be in something of a political limbo.

She could not be retained in the Senate and would not be able to take up her role in the House of Assembly as an MP until she had contested the by-election.

By that point Ms Cox will have had to announce her new Cabinet and sources say it is unlikely she could leave a post vacant.

This is a point of contention for senior party sources who are pleased with the work Ms Wilson has done as Attorney General and would like to see her remain in the role.

Sources close to Ms Cox say she would consider dramatic changes to Cabinet roles as well as personnel.

One told us: “She is looking at restructuring the ministries. She does not give much away but she has given all of this a great deal of thought. She has been thinking about this for years. She probably has a priority list for every position.”

Without the influx of new MPs generated when the leadership changes hands through a general election, Ms Cox will be left with little room to manoeuvre.

Her best chance to make her mark, say party insiders, is through Senate appointments.

One seasoned observer told us there was genuine concern about a lack of talent within the party — something the PLP has moved to remedy by introducing a more rigorous and competitive candidate selection process.

One position that is almost certain to go is Rolfe Commissiong’s role as race relations advisor.

“The Big Conversation is a big joke,” said one influential PLP parliamentarian. “All we have done is fan the flames of discontent. There hasn’t been any policy come out of it and it hasn’t led to any progress.”

Another PLP insider suggested the ‘race relations’ role would be absorbed into the remit of the Human Rights Commission.

It has been suggested that the roles of ‘press secretary’ and ‘chief of staff’ were unnecessary positions introduced along with Dr. Brown to complement his presidential style.

PLP backbencher Wayne Furbert, a former UBP leader, was among the fiercest critics of the roles before he switched sides to join Dr. Brown’s government.

But party sources suggest both positions would remain in a Paula Cox administration, though the press secretary role could go back to DCI.

“Bermuda today is very different to what it was 20 years ago,” a PLP source told us. “The leader of the country has a far greater presence internationally and requires a level of support that might not have been necessary in previous generations.

“Whoever comes in is going to need support and they will probably want to bring in their own people.

“You are going to want to pick someone you have a lot of trust and confidence in. You couldn’t have someone around you all day, every day who you didn’t like or trust.”