Worried about “divisiveness in the country” Barbados PM Mia Mottley calls snap election

Mia Motley

PM says she wanted Barbadians to “recalibrate as a people behind one Government and one leader.”

Barbadians are going to the polls in just over three weeks to elect a new government.

Prime Minister Mottley revealed January 19, 2022, as the election date, with Nomination Day being January 3. General elections were constitutionally due to be held in 2023.

Mottley led the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to a historic 30-0 whitewash of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in the May 2018 general elections.

It will be the first general elections since Barbados became a Republic on November 30.

“I earlier this evening met with her Excellency the Most Honourable Dame Sandra Mason, President of Barbados and advised that she dissolve the current Barbados Parliament with immediate effect. I further advised Her Excellency that she, not on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, but in her own right as President of the Republic of Barbados issue writs for the holding of the new elections in Barbados,” Mottley declared.

The Prime Minister said she made the decision to call the elections because she was “worried” about the divisiveness in the country.

She called on Barbadians to “unite around a common cause, a single Government and a single leader.”

“My worry going into 2022 revolves around the impact of the silly season on our tone and our tenor as a nation. The impact of the silly season on our actions and our utterances. The impact of the silly season on our ability to think Barbados and what is best for this little paradise in the middle of the sea, what is best for our future as a nation.

“I believe that we thrived and succeeded in 2018 and 2019 because an election was behind us and we united as a force against first, the fiscal and economic threats, and then later the onslaught of COVID. I believe that as a united Barbados that we will and have always been unbeatable…” Mottley said.

“Were it not for the emergence of the silly season, persons in Barbados in my view would therefore be calling a spade a spade. They would be saying what is right and what is wrong. They would be supporting policies and programmes designed to protect and safeguard this country, its inhabitants and those who do us the honour of visiting as vacationers or on business. That is why I am concerned that we should not enter 2022 as a divided nation.”

The Prime Minister said even though the country was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, she believed a successful and safe election could be held.

Pointing out that “Omicron is coming and it is going to impact us”, Mottley said, “I want us to unite as a people and to work as one….it is coming, and I need Barbadians to approach and fight Omicron as one country, as one nation, as one people.”

She disclosed she would have meetings with the Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the COVID Cabinet Sub-Committee for advice on how to structure the voting process in the midst of COVID.

Mottley said she would also ensure that the Leader of the Opposition Bishop Joseph Atherley and herself are fully briefed after these meetings.

She also pledged to update the country “in a matter of days on any agreed-upon changes with respect to simplifying the conduct of elections in this environment.”

Mottley suggested that changes could include an increase in the number of rooms to accommodate polling at facilities.