Mia Amor Mottley
Prime Minister of Barbados
Mia Amor Mottley, QC, MP (born 1 October 1965) is a Barbadian politician and attorney who is the current Prime Minister of Barbados and leader of the Barbados Labor Party (BLP). Mottley is the eighth person to hold the position of prime minister in Barbados and first woman to hold either position.
Mottley has been the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Saint Michael North East since 1994. From 1994 to 2008, she held a succession of ministerial portfolios including the post of Attorney-General of Barbados becoming the first woman to be appointed as such. She is also a member of the Inter-American Dialogue.
Mottley was twice the Leader of the Opposition in House of Assembly of Barbados first from 2008 to 2010 then from 2013 to 2018. In 2018, the Mottley-led BLP won an historic landslide victory in the May 24 general election, securing all 30 seats in the House—making them the first party to accomplish this feat—in addition to winning 74.6% of the popular vote, which is the highest share ever achieved by a party in a general election.
Early life and career
Mottley has been much influenced by her family. She is the granddaughter of Ernest Deighton Mottley (1907–1973), a real estate broker and successful politician particularly at the parish level. He was the first Mayor of Bridgetown (1959), representing Bridgetown in the House of Assembly from 1946, who belonged to the conservative party and helped the poor. He was granted the Ordinary Commander of the Civil Division for public services in Barbados in June 1962 and assisted Wynter Algernon Crawford (1910–1993), Barbados's Trade Minister, at the Independent Conference in London during June and July 1966.
Mottley's uncle, also named Ernest Deighton Mottley, became the political leader of the short-lived Christian Social Democratic Party (CSD) created in March 1975.
Mia's father Elliott Deighton Mottley, was also a barrister who sat in the House of Assembly, albeit for a relatively short time before vacating the seat to become consul-general in New York. He was educated at Eagle Hall School, Harrison College and Middle Temple of the Inns of Court School of Law, once served as Bermuda's attorney-general and sits on Belize's Court of Appeal. He married Mia's mother Santa Amor Tappin in December 1964, just three years after being called to the Bar and was elected to represent Bridgetown in May 1969. It has been suggested that the Prime Minister of the time, Errol Barrow, used his parliamentary majority to abolish local government altogether and therefore undermine Elliott Mottley's strength in the political arena.
Mia Mottley was educated at Merrivale Preparatory School, the United Nations International School, and Queen's College.
By 1986, Mottley finalized her training as attorney and received a law degree from the London School of Economics.
Mottley first entered Barbadian politics in 1991, when she lost an election race in St. Michael North East against Leroy Brathwaite (a defeat of less than 200 votes). Between 1991 and 1994 she was one of two Opposition Senators in the Upper House, where she was Shadow Minister of Culture and Community Development. During that time, she also served on numerous Parliamentary Joint Select Committees on areas ranging from Praedial Larceny and Domestic Violence.
Following the BLP's victory in the 1994 general election, Mottley was appointed to the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Culture in September 1994, under Prime Minister Owen Arthur; at the age of 29, she became one of the youngest Barbadians ever to be assigned a ministerial portfolio. During her tenure she co-authored the White Paper on Education entitled Each Child Matters, which draws the link between better education and job fulfillment.
She was elected General Secretary of the Barbados Labor Party in 1996. In that same year and again in 1997, she served as Chairman of the Caricom Standing Committee of Ministers of Education.
Mottley was appointed Attorney-General and Minister of Home Affairs in August 2001 and is the first female (in Barbados) to hold this position. She is also the youngest ever Queen's Counsel in Barbados. In addition to being a Member of the Privy Council of Barbados, she was Leader of the House and a member of the National Security Council and the Barbados Defence Board. She is also credited with being the visionary behind the Education Sector Enhancement Programme, popularly known as "Edutech", which aims to increase the number of young people contributing to the island’s sustainable social and economic development. This revolutionary programme involves the widespread use of information and communication technologies to assist in improving the quality of the teaching/learning process.
In Youth Affairs, Mottley directed the establishment of the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme and a National Youth Development Programme.
Two years later Mottley was to serve as Barbados's second female Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Social Council of Barbados and the Deputy Chairman of Barbados' Economic Council, a position she held until 2008 that allowed her extended responsibilities, including the chairmanship of a number of key Cabinet sub-committees, notably Telecommunications Reform and one oversight of the administrative and legislative initiatives to prepare Barbados for the advent of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy.
In a government reshuffle in February 2006, Mottley was appointed as Minister of Economic Affairs and Development, a post she also held until 2008, where her responsibilities put her in charge of key economic agencies.
Following the BLP's defeat in the election held on 15 January 2008 and Owen Arthur's resignation as party leader, Mia Mottley was chosen as BLP party leader on 19 January 2008. She is the first woman to lead the party, as well as the country's first female Opposition Leader. Mottley was sworn in as Opposition Leader on 7 February 2008. She promised the people that the Barbados Labor Party would be a strong and unified Opposition that would fight for the rights of all citizens in the country.
On 18 October 2010, Mottley's appointment as Leader of the Opposition was revoked following a vote of no-confidence by five of her parliamentary colleagues. The five MPs placed their support behind former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, who assumed the leadership position that same day.
In the February 2013 general election, the BLP was narrowly defeated, obtaining 14 seats against 16 for the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). A few days after the election, on 26 February 2013, the BLP parliamentary group elected Mottley as Leader of the Opposition, replacing Arthur.