Opposition Leader Mia Mottley last night chose the location where she launched her political career 29 years ago to kick off her campaign for re-election to Parliament for the sixth time.
However, she said her emphasis this time around was not on returning to Parliament as any ordinary member, but as the duly elected Prime Minister of Barbados.
Those speaking before her last night at a Barbados Labour Party spot meeting outside Quimby’s Bar, Yard Gap, Bush Hall all stressed that in the 2018 elections, St Michael North East constituents were electing more than just an MP.
And later, as she stood on top of a flatbed truck, Mottley enlisted the support of her faithful constituents for the task ahead, while stressing that “you will not just vote for an MP but you will get a PM”.
In her 40-minute presentation, Mottley reminisced on her start in politics, which she said occurred on the very same spot on which she was speaking on Thursday night.
She also thanked her supporters for continuously keeping her in Parliament after she was initially defeated by less than 200 votes by the Democratic Labour Party’s Leroy Brathwaite back in 1991.
Assuming the same audacious tone that has been adopted by BLP members in the lead up to the poll, which is constitutionally due here by June, the Opposition Leader said, “as I embark on the start of the last leg of this journey I have come home to start at home to say thank you,” she said, adding, “it was in January 1991 . . . the truck was right here in the same position in front of this shop”.
She said that as a 23-year-old at the time, “this community embraced me from day one” though she lost that election.
Mottley laid out a number of ills in the community on which she squarely blamed the current Democratic Labour Party’s ‘wrong priorities’ and said, “that is why I say to you that I want the opportunity to lead a Government and to lead a country where people can believe in the future again, believe in opportunity”.
Noting that next year makes 30 years of “my relationship with the people of Bush Hall and the wider community of St Michael North East,” she said to her following who lined both sides of the street, “I’ve spent more time in your company than outside your company, so you’ve raised me. I am only here tonight because of that.
“I’ve come to start the last leg of a journey and I am not going to walk this last leg of the journey on my own and without the people,” she said.
Frequently calling out names of members of the audience to emphasize her familiarity with constituents, Mottley conceded that there has been a downside to their loyal vote keeping her in Parliament since 1994.
“If I have to apologize to you the people of Bush Hall and St Michael North East for one thing, it is that by being faithful to me they have now asked you to pay the ultimate price by trying to punish you for the last decade . . . they see this as Mia Mottley and the Labour Party constituency.”
She however assured her faithful, “those who stand on the frontline of the burden of adjustment and sufferation must also stand on the frontline whenever the bounty returns”.
However, Mottley warned her supporters that it could be some time before they reaped their “bounty”.
“What lies ahead of us is not only going to be difficult, it’s going to require some discipline, that we have to take in our belts a few notches” she said.