In a stunning act of disdain and rebuke of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Barbadians delivered a clean-sweep of all 30-seats in their Parliament to the opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP), in the just concluded General Elections, May 24, 2018.
Therefore, Mia Mottley will now become the first female Prime Minister of the small Caribbean island of Barbados, which gained independence from Great Britain in 1966. The 166-square-mile island is a Parliamentary Democracy and member of the Commonwealth of nations - former British colonies. The head of State is Governor General, Queen Elizabeth II's representative and the head of government is the Prime Minister. It is the most easterly of the Caribbean islands with a population of some 270,000 and with an economy totally dependent on tourism.
In the unprecedented and historic election result, Barbadians wiped-out the DLP and former prime minister Freundel Stuart from office. Stuart and his party failed to win a single seat for 30- member House of Assemble - the lower chamber of the Barbados Parliament. For the first time ever in Barbados, there will be no Parliamentary opposition members.
The nation of my birth has undergone a damaging economic decline in recent years and is some Bds.$14 billion in debt with a declining foreign reserve. Stuart and his government were unable to satisfy the concerns of Barbadians.
Last summer when I took my family back to the island for a vacation after a-33-year absence, it became apparent that most Barbadians were upset, more than that - steaming mad, with Stuart's government. Concerns over irregular water supplies in the north of the island, ravines of potholes, high unemployment among 18-35-year-olds, faltering services at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital and declining social services. Many Barbadians reported of the seeming elitist stance of Stuart and his government and the failure to address their concerns. As a former member of the DLP, and not having lived on the island for 33-years, I willfully stayed out of the debates leading up to the elections. I reckoned Barbadians living daily under Stuart's government, could best make their own decision without my input.
And last night's trouncing of the DLP underscores the anger Barbadians harbored toward Stuart's government. New Prime Minister designate Mia Mottley now has a mandate from the people and an unprecedented non-Parliamentary opposition to execute her style of government to bring relief to Barbadians.
But I must venture to warn Barbadians that after the euphoric victory party on Roebuck Street, Bridgetown, is over, relief will not be immediate. Barbados faces tough negotiations with the World Bank to secure island-saving finances and the stipulations coming with such funding will not be "milk and honey". Strict austerity measures will come to the island, but the resilience and the optimism of the Barbadian character, could weather the coming inevitable changes.
Congratulations to Prime Minister designate Mia Mottley and the Barbados Labour Party - may she govern for the people. And may God Bless Barbados.