Why The Barbados Labour Party Needs A Real Leadership Contest & Convention – And Why Mia Mottley Will Never Agree To A Leadership Vote

Mia Mottley Will Never Willingly Agree To A Leadership Vote

In the wreckage of the January 2008 election, defeated Prime Minister Owen Arthur resigned from the leadership of the BLP, and Deputy Leader Mia Mottley was publicly announced as the new party leader.

barbados-mia-mottley-fraudWhat most of the public didn’t see or read about in the papers – and only heard about in whispers and quiet standpipe talk – was that Mia Mottley’s “promotion” to party leader was anything but unanimous and smooth sailing. Her “confirmation” (if you can call it that) as Leader of the Opposition took place behind closed doors and must have been some battle judging by the reports.

I wasn’t there, but like many people I’ve heard the stories of screaming, shouting and banging that could be heard out onto the street until some thinking person sent a text message to one of the participants that party supporters milling about outside were hearing the disaster. Later, the rumours came around that Mia almost lost the position until her father threatened to lay waste to half the old-boys network if his little girl didn’t assume the mantle of BLP leader. Yes, Mia’s daddy – Justice Elliot D. Mottley – was at the inner-circle meeting on election night and not just to provide moral support to his daughter. Judge Mottley took a very active role in the political process – according to what was heard on the street.

Once again folks – I wasn’t there, but I’ve heard the stories and so have you. Whatever happened on election night that saw Mia Mottley emerge as BLP Leader, it sure wasn’t a unifying experience for the BLP. Nor was this a satisfactory “public” fight where a clear winner was declared by the party.

The legacy of the chaos and bullying that resulted in the “selection” of Mia Mottley is a dysfunctional party, an ineffective opposition and a hamstrung BLP leader operating without a clear publicly-achieved mandate from either the grassroots membership or the party elites.

What the Barbados Labour Party received on election night was an Interim Leader.

Whether the BLP cares to call Mia Mottley by that name or not, the public understands the reality of her position and it weakens her image and credibility in Parliament.

Mottley Wants A Coronation – Anything But The Real Leadership Contest That The Party Needs

mia-mottley-finger-1.jpgAfter a government falls, it is not unusual to have a bit of chaos in the defeated party for a time. That can be healthy because it allows the members and the leadership to work out the problems, shuffle and add personnel – and emerge in unity and with new energy.

That is only healthy though if there IS a process happening – a process that includes a public discussion of the party’s direction and leadership – early enough before the next election that there can be a true self-examination by the party faithful.

The problem facing the BLP is that if Mia Mottley continues to get her way, there will be no leadership race – only a coronation convention scheduled so near the next election that the party will have no choice but to simply confirm her as leader.

The result of a coronation is that the public will still view the Barbados Labour Party as having an interim leader without a strong mandate from the party.

Doubts About BLP’s Ability To Win An Election With Mottley As Party Leader

Mia Mottley has always been a power-house in her own area with an impressive army of dedicated supporters, but she has not been able to turn that local support into a widespread popular base throughout the party. Many BLP stalwarts simply don’t like her, and some of those who do support her as a Member of Parliament do so with reservations. They have doubts about the ability of the party to win IF Mia Mottley is leader.

In short, many BLP faithful will tolerate Mia Mottley as a Minister, but are unwilling to support her as party leader because they don’t believe she can win a national election in front of the voters.

Mottley is no fool and she knows that in a real leadership vote by the members, her victory is anything but assured. That is why she will do everything she can to engineer a coronation and to not allow a real leadership contest to develop.

But that coronation will weaken the Barbados Labour Party. No matter how many of the party faithful cheer Mottley onto the stage before the next election, if she hasn’t won the leadership fair and square – many of the voters and many BLP supporters will have doubts.

If Mia Mottley hopes to be Prime Minister, she will first have to fight a legitimate public battle for the leadership of her party. Only by truly winning her leadership position will she be able to convince the public to even consider her for Prime Minister.


Filed under Barbados, Politics

40 responses to “Why The Barbados Labour Party Needs A Real Leadership Contest & Convention – And Why Mia Mottley Will Never Agree To A Leadership Vote

  1. Jack Dempsey

    Well thought out article. Mia is unelectable as PM.

  2. Rumplestilskin

    Interesting analysis, I also am of the view that the leadership is in contention.

    Not really relevant anyway, until the 2018 election.

    DLP will retain Gov’t in 2013.


  3. 199

    BF, I expect that Mia is like so many others who’re desperate to be leader, like my dear Gordon Brown. He was so desperate it appeared to be making him ill. Finally, he managed to oust Blair and took over but what a disaster he’s been! It’s one thing to WANT the leadership, it’s quite another to have the natural, aptitude for the position, which is why I’m patiently, biding my time, hay in the UK! re: Bim!!

  4. Hants

    In Barbados there is a straight path to becoming Prime Minister.

    The Prime Minister is chosen by the elected party members and it can be any one of them.

    The leader of the party is the conventional choice but ……

  5. Hants

    The Nation


    “The 28-year-old man was given until May 10 to remove his uncompleted wooden house and all of his fruit trees and vegetable garden, because Chinese investors from Chinados Construction Ltd have bought the land his family has been living on for close to 50 years.”

    Chinese voting block?

  6. A Mottley Group

    This is one very well thought out and written article.

    Her threat to send her seat back to the vote when they voted against her for the post of Leader of the Opposition, in her sulky mood she has yet to come to grips with the fact that the voters do not want her neither do the other members of her party want her as leader.

    Simply put all you have to do is watch and see where her supporters are when she speaks in Parliament they are no where to be seen near her.

    Then you watch Dale Marshall’s offerings and he and George Pain’s offerings and their planning, as is clearly seen it is to get ones who support them nominated for seats doing so even at the cost of sitting members like Rawle Eastmond who has always said that he was serving out his term in office but yet these clowns are canvassing in his area already a clear message that they are not chilling with Mottley but they have gone their seperate ways with their own mission and their own program.

    My information is that the same Rawle Eastmond that they are trying to unseat may have the last laugh at them, with whom he sees as his successor to his seat and it ain’t any Skeete or Sandra Husbands.

  7. 244

    funny I didn’t realise that Hartley Henry had started writing for BFP 🙂

    Owen Arthur was selected in a similar manner and then “confirmed” by the general council.
    Thompson was hand picked by Sandiford, quit then came back with a palace coup.
    Sandiford was picked by Errol Barrow (remember the “Any number can play” comment?
    Tom Adams fought Bree St. John, but engineered his (St. John’s)1971 loss.
    Dipper Barrow declared himself leader by starting his own party the DLP.
    Grantley Adams was pretty much the same as Barrow.

    So BFP when has there EVER been a leader selected by rank and file vote without some opaque “nomination” activity in Barbadian or West Indian politics? Mia’s rise to party leader is the norm for these parts.

    So far the negative comments here are from people who would not have voted for her anyway so I would be surprised if the likes of Hants said he approved of her. According to the latest Pudding & Souse she’s started to consolidate her position.

    Rumpelstiltskin I would not be so smug about 2013………

  8. bad boy jim

    one more constituency will be added and some boundary changes to put it in place and the dlp will rule for four terms just like the crooks in the blp.

  9. Sargeant

    Sure the BLP should have named an interim leader when the incumbent stepped down after the election defeat but it looks like the insiders aided by some arm twisting “anointed” Mia (wonder if they used holy oil) as the new leader. Mia if anything is a canny politician (see her releasing her “known” assets without revealing the others) and is operating under the premise that possession is nine tenths of the law. She is the leader and is seen as the leader ergo she is the leader so why open it up to the foot soldiers; that may only lead to some blood letting and complicate matters.

    Mia is even cementing her status as leader by choosing candidates for the next election and make no mistake those are and will be her candidates. In any event apart from OSA
    (should he change his mind) who could really challenge Mia for the leadership? Does any one think that any of the duo of Silent George or Dapper Dale are up to it? I know that George has the arrogance required but what does Dale have? Mia is hoping that her personal popularity in her constituency will morph into national esteem but unless the DLP engages in some monumental screw up the BLP will maintain their status on the Opposition benches after the next election.

  10. reality check

    Mia is bright enough to win but she would need to drastically change her ways.

    She would need to be seen dealing with real issues in more than a insincere and superficial manner such as ITAL and FOI. The legislation is all over the world on websites and could be introduced as a platform immediately as well as the clauses for a Ministerial code of conduct.

    As well she would need to get out and build bridges with other members of her party and deal with important issues to Barbadians and not side deals or power sharing at the expense of a clear vision of transparency.

    In short, she needs an extreme makeover of her personality and attitude to politics and communication.

    Mia needs to do more listening and less talking .

    Make no mistake about it. Mia could win a BLP vote or another grassroots BLP member with a real desire to bring in ITAL and FOI could come up out of nowhere.

    Six months can be a lifetime in politics.

  11. Paul Barnes

    Well said…her “coronation” would be entirely conventional in a Caribbean context…

  12. permres

    I have to say, now in retirement, I am pleased that those in power through an old-fashioned democratic vote are now feeling the pinch of grassroots democracy through the Internet.
    God bless real democracy!

  13. Rumplestilskin


    A couple of matters from your posting.

    Firstly, Sandiford in becoming PM, was not ‘picked by Errol Barrow’, more correctly, by Cameron Tudor.

    The majority seemed to be behind Richie Haynes, but the alleged rush to Gov’t House, put the kibutz on that.

    Whether this supports your point or disproves it, is another matter.

    Secondly, to clarify matters, I do think that Mia is brilliant, capable and would make a very good technical leader.

    However, I do believe that there are machinations, within her own party and from more than one source, with the aim to change. If you look at some of my previous postings, you will see that I referred to this previously.

    Funnily enough, none of the persons there, other than Mia or the former PM, have the capacity to be a PM, so in trying to unseat the current leader, would guarantee a 2013 loss.

    As for ‘being smug’ about 2013, I have no need to be smug, I am not a member of either party.

    However, in simple analytical terms, history has shown, that generally the first and second terms in Barbados are relatively safe, given that the incumbent party has a ‘profile advantage’ that carries much weight in the election.

    Much would have to pass for the DLP to lose this profile advantage and the BLP to gain power in 2013. I do think Thompson has learnt enough to stay clear of severe and self-destructive controversy, in the meantime.

    Barring that, the fight will be 2018.

    Compounding this, as I said above, is the lack of substance in the Opposition, in support of the new leader, barring the few new entrants to the scene.

    Nevertheless, Mia has a big job ahead in building party image and showing the voting public that her new colleagues do have enough substance, to present a formidable team for the next Election.


  14. Typical Bajan Male

    I have to disagree with you reality check. Mia had years to embrace ITAL and Freedom of Information.

    Instead of embracing integrity concepts she was part of the most corrupt government we’ve ever had (so far).

    As for Freedom of Information, Mottley declared that talk shows and blogs are a “threat to democracy”

    She was right though. Those talk shows and blogs took down her government.

    Can we trust Mottley if she decides to “embrace” FOI and ITAL?


    The BLP needs to dump Mottley and elect as leader someone who was not part of the last mess before they can proclaim they are “clean”.

  15. Antonio

    It’s Edmund Hinkson for St. James North…..he’s Rawle’s replacement.

  16. Crucifus

    Why Barbados needs a leader. Just simply because the Democratic Labour Party Government lacks decisive and pragmatic leadership. YOU DEMS need to face the reality and gravity of the situation. Efforts at coalition government have not
    materialised. Sealy and Estwick waiting to grabble hold on any opportunity to land de big pick. Wait yeh and Kelly aint forget the good old bad days. Mia is obviously causing you guys some concern. Deal with the economy and the the other issues confronting the country. Its your party’s responsibility to find the solutions or is it at Professor Alleyne and company ‘s doorstep.
    Watch de backstabbers . Help your party and the country in a constructive way.

  17. I wish we were allowed to influence our party leaders here. We have had the same two guys here going on almost 20 years now!

  18. Hants

    say what? 244 wrote ” so I would be surprised if the likes of Hants said he approved of her.”

    Of course I approve of Mia Mottley as leader of the opposition.She declared herself as a member of the political class and she has every right to seek the highest political office.

    Besides as a loyal DLP supporter, I think she is the best “opposition” leader in the BLP.

    A rejuvenated Owing After or Dale Marshall would be a tougher opponent.
    That is just my opinon.

  19. Hants

    BFP prefers to keep the Political class on the straight and narrow while the Nation breking storybout Chinee buying bajan lan an de farmer uptaws to lines.

    wha wanna kno bout dis story in de nation.An doan complain bout me trying to write bajan cause Babadus is way my nabel string bury.

  20. Omar

    The truth is that Mia Mottley is unliked and unelectable. The BLP supporters simply rally behind her because they have no choice, but when you bring up her island-side reputation and character, they all go silent. What can you say on behave of someone with the established character, lifestyle and reputation of Mia Mottley? And then she comes into parliament and has the audacity to question the PM’s character. Her attempt to convince the nation that the PM and the DLP have bad character, in the words of the AG, “is to be punished with laughter”.

  21. The farmer should have a strong claim on that land if his family has been in possession for almost 50 years.

  22. ProLife

    Get out of the left-right paradigm.

  23. Crucifus

    That comment “is to be punished with laughter ” is small talk is to amuse small minds. The more serious issues are being punished with avoidance but laughter is a good outlet from chronic stress. Avote for the Deputy who can be termed ‘Best Actor’, for his endless appearances as ‘Acting Prime minister’ on the Barbados Stage. By now the sum total of his appearances are more than enough to fit him in top position. Its remarkable that one who excercised such a very sharped tongue around the time of DLP 50th anniversary in relation to his boss man seems to have been remade and his slate wiped clean this is not a laughing matter.Bet his comments were not punished with laughter but with venom.

    A word to the witty once bitten twice as shy. People tend to forgive but not forget .Venom is not punishable with laughter.

  24. Sargeant

    Crucifus: Speaking of sharp tongues,does this mean that Mia has not forgiven Kerrie?

  25. mia mottley’ascension to the office of prime minister would be nothing short of scandalous. please check her record as a minister and you will see a trail of disaster1)edutech where there is a never-ending hole into which someone profits at the expense of common sense. how can we continue like this?
    what has edutech contributed to real educational reform?
    2)and education where we are still hobbled by blp appointees whose role is to harass and vilify teachers.some have fled to jamaica and now trot out the public relations pap served up by that regional examining body;others continue to pose as experts in the field of education but have really benefitted from mottley largesse over the last 14 years.
    3)youth affairs where the director fled too having been used to prop up mottley’s agenda to use youth to further her own aims; the appointment of youth commissioners without qualifications or conditions for appointment-again a political ploy.
    4)ncf- where the former ceo farmed out every single developmental project conceived in-house to partisan interests and wrecked the caf fund-the recent statements by the former chairman confirm this; and the former p.m is also guilty of sleeping on the job and not being smart enough to see that mottley effectively ‘moled ‘ every organisation she touched.
    5)attorney-general’s office where given the power to change the dispensing of justice she oversaw the burning of glendairy, the crisis artfully stage managed with nightly press conferences; the fiasco of the CrabHill Police station where the infelicities are now being made public by the auditor general. this is in addition to her own flaws as a person who having been born to a life of privilege dispenses her power with cruelty of a ‘rugged.’ If she ever becomes the Prime minister I leaving Barbados beacuse no one has been able to rein her in.

  26. A Mottley Group


    Barbados Free Press will NOT be used or misused to “out” the sexual orientation of any person. Any such anonymous posting may or may not be true and we certainly aren’t in a position to verify the truth about the sexual orientation of any person. History has shown that allowing such discussion naming persons soon degenerates into vicious personal attacks.

    Reasonable discussion about gays in politics and society are one thing – naming people is another.

    We will delete any post – the entire post – of anyone misusing this forum. If it happens twice, that person will be out of here.


  27. PickUhNoice

    I am trying to figure out what those Bajans on Facebook really mean when they list their religious views as conservative and their political views as liberal.
    Mia Mottley who has a supporters page on facebook (only 137 supporters thus far) list her political views as Liberal ( anyone could have guess that) but there is no listing of her religious views. Maybe she has none.

  28. Crucifus

    “He that is without sin cast the first stone.” The Lord of justice is looking down from on high with balanced scales and offering mercy to all. Who are we to judge and question others who choose to be guided by their own beliefs. In judgement we stand and heap scorn on them but fail to see the beam that is in our own eyes.
    Mother of Justice your hands are knocking the scale. The Minister of Education has admitted EDUTEC is here to stay. Some have been disappointed for others to be appointed.
    Constituency Councils all appointed by the hands of one Minister…. total empowerment, oh! oh !
    Prison Officers fears of losing jobs maybe through lack of lot of paper qulification. They too have families. Will their families come first? Oh for nights of pain and terror. Oh Mother of Justice open thine eyes and harken unto the cries of our people and give due and just measure.

  29. Knight Templar

    What about the cost of living?

    Imagine your topic at a time when it is known that Prime Minister Thompson made a proclamation that all ZRs and Mini-buses must fill-up at one pump – owned by Simpson, who put money into the DLP 2008 election pot.

    And Barbados is silent! No outrage!!!.

    Imagine, the DLP is collecting road tax illegally; printing money at the Central Bank and price gouging on petroleum products and land tax. Not a word!

    Thompson and the DLP are breaking the law, as it relates to the Insurance Act by setting up committeee to report to Thompson and not a Judge or the Courts of Barbados, and you have time to talk about the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and the BLP.

    Barbados is truly in crisis!!!

  30. A Mottley Group

    Knight Templar AKA The Parro In A Suit AKA Sylvan Greenidge, what you ought to come to grips with is that the island is being run fairly and honestly no more VECO or DANOS contracts that that you made famous.

    Read the post above and you will maybe learn why you and your party is in crisis, you party is like a rudderless ship in the vast ocean of discontent with your leader and your former leader.

  31. Hants

    BFP Robert says “we certainly aren’t in a position to verify the truth”.

    Glad to see you are staying on the straight and narrow.

    “The truth will out”.

  32. ProLife

    Neither party is good, they all collaborate with each other.

  33. Knight Templar

    Read the post above and you will maybe learn why you and your party is in crisis


    You are like a stuck record. I heard it all before. Bring something new and turn down the noise. Here are the facts that you should be concerned about:

    Do you realise that the brightest people in the Caribbean, such as Professor Girvan and Dr. Joseph – have no-confidence in David Thompson or the DLP?

    Do you realise the same view is held by respected journalists such a Rickey Singh?

    Do you also realise that Regional Heads selected the Guayana President to lead talks with President Obama, on the very issues that Mr. Thompson has responsibility for, as regards the CSME?

    Why do you think the brightest and most patriotic people in the region are calling for a reshuffle of the Quasi-CARICOM Cabinet?

  34. 2009

    Mia Mottley is a close relative of……DISASTER !

    All the projects she managed as Minister of the Crown were poorly executed and contained a number of infelicities.

  35. Johnny Postle

    Loyal opposition my grand fathers big smelly toe. The stench the BLP left still got people wriggling in pain. The DLP starting to smell stink too but their stench in yet to be compared to what the BLP left. All you BLP lackeys just missing the gravy train.

  36. Good analysis

    Your analysis is sound

  37. Knight Templar

    A Fast Free Fall – From Prosperity to Crisis

    There can be no denying that under Errol Barrow, the DLP was a political institution that helped lift hundreds of thousands of Barbadians into the middle class.

    Back then, the DLP continued the transforming of this country that started by Grantley Adams, utilizing Barbadian talent and innovation and its access to grant funds and concessionary loans.

    Today, not knowing what it is doing (even though being the government) the DLP’s slide continues with Errol Barrow’s Party travelling below the earth at record speed.

    The DLP’s reality is therefore: “a Fast Free Fall – From Prosperity to Crisis.”

    This is something that would have been unfathomable twenty-two years ago, much less three decades ago, when it was a dominant force in local and regional politics.

    Today, the DLP practices gimmicks, such as giving tourist from Europe and North America – money back, if the temperature drops below a certain level, even though moving aggressively to deport Caribbean people from Barbados.

    But while the DLP moves aggressively to deport Caribbean people from Barbados, right here in this country – Chinese are threatening to bulldoze the homes of Barbadians who have been living on the land for over a half of a century.

    Talk about counterfeit DLP patriotism!

    And you have nothing to do but talk about the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, weven though (according to highly respected regional academics) Barbados’ free fall from prosperity to shame, intensifies.

    It is now not a question of if the DLP is doing a poor job but whether the DLP is capable of governing at all, at this time of what is being described as the worst economic crisis in 80 years.

  38. Avatar Gurl

    Well, when you have a BURGER instead of a SAUSAGE, what would you expect? Mia should have sausages for breakfast instead of burgers! Maybe then she can think properly!

  39. Pingback: Who will be the next elected Prime Minister of Barbados? « Barbados Free Press

  40. Pingback: Mia Mottley’s father Justice Elliot Mottley quits Belize Court of Appeal under controversy « Barbados Free Press