(BROOKLYN, New York): Yes, it’s a Political Trifecta for new Barbados prime minister and veteran politician, Mia Mottley. The Leader of the Barbados Labor Party (BLP) is now the first ever female Prime Minister of the Government of Barbados. Another first for her is that fact that she won her constituency – St. Michael North East – with more than 4 000 votes. And she along with her team of 29, painted the entire country red from St. Lucy in the North to St. Michael in the South and St. James in the West to St. John in the East winning all of the seats, following her CARICOM counterpart Grenada’s New National Party’s (NNP) landslide just over a month ago.
“I want to thank you the people in particular. This victory is not mine, This victory is not the Labor Party. This victory belongs to the people of Barbados, “ she said after winning that CARICOM’s general elections last week. Outgoing Prime Minister Freundel Stuart too created history yet again by conceding the election. To some, he sounded like a broken man as he spoke with hunched shoulders and a cracked voice. He looked close to tears as he took all the blame for his Party’s failure.
There were thousands gathered at the BLP Headquarters in Roebuck Street for the Victory Party after the BLP’s 30-0 clean sweep. Mottley, 52, becomes Barbados’ eighth Prime Minister and the fifth female head of government in the English speaking Caribbean joining the likes of the late Dame Eugenia Charles of Dominica, Janet Jagan of Guyana, Portia Simpson Miller in Jamaica and Kamla Persad Bissessar in Trinidad and Tobago.
The result brought the Caribbean island’s controversial election day and campaign to a decisive end with the BLP securing the broadest electoral victory in the country’s history and with a mandate, which allows them to make changes to the constitution and implement other reforms promised during the campaign.
Election Day was married by series of complaints with multiple citizens stating that they were unable to find their names on the voters’ list with some having to go to the courts to have their names added to the list of Register of Electors at the last minute.
Citizens were also forced to wait into the wee hours of the morning for the results after a delay in the counting of the ballots. Mottley now takes office at a most difficult time for this Caribbean country. For example, the Barbadian economy has struggled since 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis. Weak growth and a sizeable state budgetary deficit have also increased its debt to GDP ratio over the last few years, and led to several international credit rating agencies repeatedly downgrading its economic outlook.
The BLP attacked the former Freundel Stuart led government on its policy of high taxation and focused on policies to reduce the cost of living during the campaign, promising to bolster public services such as garbage collection, public transportation, and infrastructure improvement. The outgoing government also came under attack for failing to contain effluent bubbling up from sewers along south coast roads that lead to many of the island’s prized beaches and famed tourist resorts.
Although Stuart announced the election less than a month ago, the BLP was in campaign mode since the start of 2018. Frustration over the longstanding DLP-BLP duopoly has caused a host of new political parties to spring up on the island of some 285,000 people with a record number of 135 nominees registering to contest this past election.