“Before a dream can mature and manifest itself as real, a lot of loaded efforts come into play! You are the pivot on which those loads must be turned!” – (Israelmore Ayivor of Ghana).
I extend the strongest support and heartiest congratulations to Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the successful Barbados Labour Party (BLP) team. From the shambles that frustrated Barbadians and shamed the country, the BLP recorded the most convincing electoral victory ever in the history of general elections in Barbados. Mia Amor Mottley, who is now Barbados’ eighth Prime Minister and the first woman to lead the Barbados nation demonstrated a calm yet inspiring presence throughout the political campaigning. Prime Minister Mottley’s critiques of where Barbados found itself were robustly accurate, but incisively hopeful. Mottley and the BLP team illuminated discussion on the numerous vexing issues and the paths that would be taken to ensure ‘building the best Barbados together’.
Mia Mottley’s repeated message to the people was to give her the team she needs to carry out her ‘mission critical’ exercise of first attending to the urgent matter of arresting the crisis issues. She asked for and received the full endorsement of her slate of BLP candidates from the electorate. The 30 – 0 claiming of membership to the Lower House of Parliament not only speaks to that endorsement by the people, but in plain terms, represents both the phenomenal and historic legitimation of a prime minister and political party upon whom a mandate is wholeheartedly reposed.
Notwithstanding, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) threw a noble mantra to Barbadians indicating that ‘Barbados is more than an economy, it is a society.’ In fact, the economy was going through doldrums of austerity and downgrades, and the society was in decline and decay. On the one hand, the Barbados economy was careening over the cliffs of wastage, maladministration, indecisiveness, stagnation, and unsustainable public debt. On the other hand, the society was bleeding at the seams for lack of adequate attention to our youth and elderly, inclusion of the marginalised, and the better utilisation of skills from both the unemployed and under-employed.
The moment came for Barbados to end the drought and suffering when 60 per cent of the electorate marked their ‘X’ and over 70 per cent of those voting facilitated Mia Mottley’s quest to ‘rebuild the Barbados brand’. In Prime Minister Mottley, there is a visible and audible returning of hope, confidence, determination to the steering of a country which had seen a lost decade pass by without any noticeable accomplishments. The tone of the country is seemingly sounding a sense of justice having been able to punish the offenders in the best way possible barring the outcome of any proven allegations of corruption.
In the foreground for making Barbados the best it possibly can be is the executive team that will set and implement policy programmes and directives. While it is true that Prime Minister Mottley has strategically selected the largest Cabinet ever in Barbados, she pointedly equated this action to being commensurate with the huge problems impeding economic growth and suffocating the country’s resource potential for bringing prosperity for all.
Miss Mottley explained that: “The Cabinet will be relatively large because I’ve not only considered the mandate given to us by the people but also the scope of the work to be done, and the level of expertise that is at our disposal, among elected members. I’ve opted to share the workload across a significant proportion of the parliamentary group, rather than conform to the theory of a small Cabinet, thus creating an unrealistic setting for members to function effectively.” Contrary to some critical statements, Miss Mottley’s consistency and focus on purpose is very clear.
Barbadians do need to give Prime Minister Mottley a chance to make things work before sending any destructive darts her way. On the Cabinet, she asserted that: “The salaries of a few extra ministers are relatively insignificant, given that there will be tremendous savings on the containment of wastage and the curtailment of corruption. There are the traditional bedrock portfolios, as we also look to embrace new concepts and opportunities, including the pursuit of maritime exploits in a blue economy, people’s empowerment and elderly care, the concept of science, innovation and smart technology, as well as the restoration of the stand-alone Ministry of Home Affairs, which will have responsibility for the police once again.” Miss Mottley is not being hemmed in by the challenges before her, nor will she await the winds of serendipity. This strict guardian of our heritage and firm craftswoman of our fate can and will be trusted to work in the people’s best interest.
Indeed, Prime Minister Mottley can be taken at her word. Mottley asked for a team of varying talents, diversified interests, and multiple skills; the people responded overwhelmingly to her request in the affirmative. Mia Mottley also reminded Barbadians that many hands make light work; let her Cabinet speak by their performances. Not to be omitted from our thinking, is the firm understanding that she will not put all ‘green-horns’ in place, nor will she solely rely on those that served in Government before. There is a process of grooming that must take place while the menaces facing the economy are tackled, and the society is uplifted.
Therefore, several of her pre-election statements ought not to be lost by those insufficiently willing to exercise restraint from the massacre that upended the DLP’s pathetic performance under the badly beaten Freundel Stuart. Former members of the executive and legislature should avoid letting slip any loose tongues or their emotional distress after being wiped out in totality. Barbadians are fully aware that after such a terrific party loss, the hurting will continue for a while. Martin Luther King (Jr.) warns that “the heaviest and more burdensome load ever is neither the cement bag nor the iron rod. It is hatred.”
It is in Barbados’ best interest that Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the BLP be given a fair chance so that the good will and hard work can deliver the results that meet the expectations of the people. Today, therefore, Prime Minister Mottley’s ascendancy speaks to her classy, resolute, and strategic assault on combatting the wrongs that for a very long time had afflicted Barbados and its residents.
Congratulations once again, Prime Minister Mottley, and I wish you and your team the types of successes that this country and the region have been hungry for after so long a period of drought and agony. May Almighty God unreservedly bless you and keep Barbados safe.
(Dr George C. Brathwaite is a part-time lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and a political consultant who recently sought nomination for the opposition BLP in St John. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org)