By Wade Gibbons
and Kimberley Cummins
Former Government Senator Lucille Moe has expressed fears about Prime Minister Mia Mottley being given another mandate to run Barbados’ political affairs.
Moe, who served as Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Public Affairs in Mottley’s administration up to July 2020, told Barbados TODAY she has known the Barbados Labour Party leader for over 50 years, considered her a “little sister” and had been very protective of her over the years. However, the daughter of late former Barbados attorney general and Chief Justice of Belize, George Moe, said she had no choice but to disassociate herself from her erstwhile friend. Moe said she believes in democracy and that power had changed the Mottley she knew.
“I’ve been in politics for the better part of my life, in my early life when I was at secondary school my father was a politician. And I’ve watched all, I know all of them, Errol Barrow coming right through, what is the difference to me with Mia, is Mia has changed, she’s got real power because the power of the prime minister is great under the Parliamentary democracies we have in these Caribbean islands. And regrettably Mia has changed; she is not handling the power like you thought she would have.
“I mean I was so excited three and a half years ago when she won, but she has become, to such a point, dictatorial in her style of politics. She is autocratic and she does not allow anyone to have any kind of view or opinion; everybody must be in the Mia Mottley choir. Or it is problem for you. And it got to the point I could not take it anymore,” she said.
Moe, who has worked with Mottley as a strategist, campaign manager and confidante in every general election since 1991, admitted that she and others had grown afraid of the St Michael North East representative.
“It has gotten so bad to be honest, regrettably, I have become afraid of Mia Mottley. I am afraid of her. I am afraid of someone I used to think of as my little sister. It is not just me that is afraid of her, a lot of others are too, but they are so frighten to talk because they are afraid of what will happen to them. I know doing what I do, I have sealed my fate and she will come after me and I know exactly what is going to happen and that is fine. I have decided somebody has to speak out, and let it be me,” Moe explained.
She added: “So I am speaking for myself and all the other people who are afraid of Mia Mottley because if I am and if I have known her for over 50 years, a woman that I thought of as my little sister, read a lesson at my father’s funeral and I can sit here and tell you that I am afraid of her, I know how other Barbadians and other people she is around feel. And that is why I knew I had to go and try to get democracy back in this country. This can’t be 30 seats and one woman as a dictator, that is what it has become and I am not comfortable with that, that is not the Barbados I know.”
Moe said she was going public with her reasons for leaving the Barbados Labour Party to dismiss all the rumours that were being circulated about her leaving the “comfort” of the BLP for the Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
“We cannot have this 30-love situation, it is ridiculous because all we end up with is what we have now. I don’t want to go into detail about things that have been done to other people, I’m not going there, I can talk about myself. So, I speak with authority when I’m speaking about myself. This is not any hearsay, what she did to other people and all of that, all of that is there and anyone who has ever had to interact with her, because they said something she didn’t like, they would know the exact behaviour to expect. And that is now going three and a half years into a term. Can you imagine another 30 -love, what that would do to this country and what she would be like?
“So I knew that for me, for my own ability to sleep at night, my own ability to be comfortable in my own country, I know we must restore democracy in this country. And that is why I felt I needed to leave the comfort out there in the Barbados Labour Party and go to the Democratic Labour Party, because we need democracy,” she said.
Moe said it was wrong of Mottley to call a general election while Barbados was experiencing a spike in Covid-19 cases.
“This election has shown me that there are no holds barred to what will be done in order to be able to hold onto power. Why would you have an election in the middle of a pandemic with a spike? COVID is here to stay, so you will end up having an election with COVID but not when the numbers are climbing. So, when the numbers are climbing and you can see what is happening at these meetings and gatherings, just to work in the campaign, everything is bringing people together, they are all super spreaders.
“When you go into a campaign office with 15 people trying to hustle ‘bout and do labels to send out, circulars to people and all of that- all super spreaders. I don’t care how many masks you put on. People handling envelopes and passing it to you and you putting on stickers and all that- get real. In the middle of a surge, the numbers would have to be a lot flatter. What was the urgency? Power. That is what it was, hold on to power- that’s all it is. Everybody knows that if they are honest but the problem is a lot of people are afraid to say it. They are saying it quietly behind closed doors,” she stated.
Asked if Mottley was forced to call the early general election because of rumoured moves by her parliamentary colleagues to oust her as Prime Minister, Moe responded: “I will not comment because anything I say on that would be hearsay because I am not in the Cabinet and I was not on island to be participant to any effort to remove her. I heard the rumours, but for me there were rumours because I wasn’t there.”
Moe said there was a need for reform in Barbados’ general election procedures.
“The way in which political campaigns in Barbados are run, you really need reform. Reform in all kinds of ways. You need boundary realignment; a lot of these boundaries are not in step with what is required by law. No one has made any effort to do that and gone back to another election without having done that. There should be a 50 per cent differential between one seat, and that’s the maximum you can have, and we have constituencies that are out of step, they have been out of step and no one has done anything about it and gone into another election.
“We need campaign finance reform. The methodology used to finance campaigns is part of the reason why you even have the one about integrity legislation. That is one of the things you should worry about, not about when you get into office and who may get into some type of skullduggery on government contracts. You got to worry about the way in which they get there in the first place and then because of the way in which it is structured, there are no real limits to your ability to raise money for a campaign, what the limit is or what you can spend on a voter, even that is ridiculous,” she said.
Moe also noted that taxpayers needed to ask questions about the role director of communications and social media, Charles Jong, was playing in Barbados at the expense of the public purse. She noted that reference to Dominica and St Kitts could provide them with answers. (WG/KC)