Opposition Leader Mia Mottley is celebrating 25 years in politics, thanking those who helped her along the way.
“This evening is really about a journey . . . without you all, this journey would not have been possible,” she told a packed congregation at the Jackson Church of God yesterday.
The 48-year-old Member of Parliament noted that “at every point of my life I have had to learn how to manage challenges that go beyond the immediate, and that’s life . . . it’s has not been a fairytale.
“I thank my family for rooting me and for giving me the space to be who I could be without crowding me, and to recognise that I could only be that best that I could be to serve this community if I was allowed to define my own identity as an individual and as a representative.”
She said space yielded by family was filled by the people of St Michael North East from whom she had learnt life.
“I learnt, I learnt people, I learnt Barbados in this community. I am who I am because you helped could me into being who I am today,” she said in her
15- minute address.
She described her constituents as the people “who make me recognise that even if I am not the member of parliament for St Michael North East, that I have walked on a journey with you, where we have become family and friends, and where there is a relationship that endures beyond this point, this place and time.”
Skirting political issues within and outside her party, she said the if value of forgiveness was understood, “then you understand better why it is wise to leave balls outside the off stump and to remain focused on the values that matter”.
Mottley recalled starting off in defeat at the polls, “Ronald [Toppin] will tell you on that journey because his and my careers have virtually been step in step, and Gline [Murray’s] . We lost together in ‘91, we won together in ‘94, and we are still here together”.
To fellow MPs, some who were present, she said, “We don’t have to agree on everything, but we have to be anchored in a passion to be the best that we can be and represent the philosophy that we believe in this party”.
Consistent with the atmosphere of friendliness of the evening, Mottley extended good words to Democratic Labour Party member and Minister of Government, Donville Inniss, who was in the pew.
“I want to thank you Donville, both as the General Secretary of the Democratic Labour Party and a friend . . . I want to commend you for the courage and the respect that you have displayed.”
She thanked former deputy prime minister in the BLP government, Billie Miller, also in the pew. for teaching her, “that the merit of sharing fellowship is to ensure that the divisions never become so deep that we want to draw anything other than words at each other”.
And to resounding applause, she said, “I also want to thank Owen Arthur for giving me the opportunity to have served, because without that I would not have received the level of exposure nor the ability to make defining differences for you here”.