Mia Mottley

Freundel Stuart Owen Arthur Attorney-General of Barbados

Mia Mottley

2019 Mia Mottley.jpg
8th Prime Minister of Barbados
Assumed office
25 May 2018
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor GeneralSandra Mason
Preceded byFreundel Stuart
Leader of the Opposition
In office
26 February 2013 – 25 May 2018
Prime MinisterFreundel Stuart
Preceded byOwen Arthur
Succeeded byJoseph Atherley[1]
In office
7 February 2008 – 18 October 2010
Prime MinisterDavid Thompson
Preceded byDavid Thompson
Succeeded byOwen Arthur
Member of Parliament
for Saint Michael North East
Assumed office
6 September 1994
Preceded byLeroy Brathwaite
Personal details
Born (1965-10-01) 1 October 1965 (age 54)
Political partyBarbados Labour Party
ResidenceIlaro Court (2018–present)
Alma materQueen's College (Barbados)[2]
London School of Economics (Law degree)

Mia Amor Mottley QC, MP, EGH, OR (born 1 October 1965) is a Barbadian politician and attorney who is the current Prime Minister of Barbados and leader of the Barbados Labour 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.[3]

Mottley was twice the Leader of the Opposition in the 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 24 May general election, securing all 30 seats in the House—making them the first party to accomplish this feat—in addition to winning 72.8% of the popular vote, which is the highest share ever achieved by a party in a general election.[4]

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 Barbados National 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.[5]

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 1967, 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,[6] the United Nations International School, and Queen's College.

By 1986, Mottley finalised her training as attorney and received a law degree from the London School of Economics.[7]

Political career

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, Senate of Barbados 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 Minister 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 fulfilment.

She was elected General Secretary of the Barbados Labour 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.[8] 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' 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 and elected as BLP party leader in a leadership election on 19 January 2008 against Former Attorney-General of Barbados, Dale Marshall (politician). She is the first woman to lead the party, as well as the country's first female Opposition Leader.[9] Mottley was sworn in as Opposition Leader on 7 February 2008. She promised the people that the Barbados Labour 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 after another leadership election where former Prime Minister Owen Arthur defeated Mia Mottley.

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.[10]

Prime Minister

In the 2018 general election, the BLP won the biggest majority government in Barbadian history, winning over 70% of the popular vote and all 30 seats in the legislature. Mottley was sworn in as Barbados' first female Prime Minister on 25 May.[11][12][13]

In May 2018, Mottley disclosed previously uncovered financial obligations of the state, saying that the new government inherited a large debt. Disclosure of information about the current level of debt led to an increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio from 137% to 175% — the fourth-highest value in the world after Japan, Greece, and Sudan. Mottley announced that new government had no other choice than to ask the IMF to facilitate debt restructuring.[citation needed] A week later following the election, on 5 June 2018 Barbados failed to fulfill its obligation to pay the 26th coupon on Eurobonds maturing in 2035. This was the first time in history that a sitting government did not fulfill its obligation.[14]

In the 2019 New Year Honours Mottley's father Elliott Mottley received a knighthood on the nomination of the Barbadian government.[15]

Mottley addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 27 September 2019 with a 39-minute speech centered around climate change and its effects on Barbados and other Caribbean nations.[16][17]

Mottley announced in a speech presented September 2020 a plan to, by November 2021, abolish Barbados' monarchy, removing the British sovereign (currently Queen Elizabeth II), as the country's head of state, making Barbados a republic. She argued that after over 54 years of independence, it was time for Barbados to "fully leave our colonial past behind."[18] Under her proposal, the country would retain a parliamentary system, with a mostly ceremonial president as head of state.[19]

Honours and awards

Mottley is a recipient of the following:


  1. ^ "Bishop Atherley now Leader of the Opposition | Barbados Advocate". barbadosadvocate.com. 2 June 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  2. ^ Marlon Madden, "PM encourages more human interaction", Barbados Today, 5 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Inter-American Dialogue | Mia Amor Mottely". www.thedialogue.org. Archived from the original on 8 July 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Barbados General Election Results 2018". www.caribbeanelections.com. Archived from the original on 12 September 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  5. ^ Caribbean monthly bulletin, Volumes 7–9, Institute of Caribbean Studies, University of Puerto Rico (1973).
  6. ^ Merrivale (Shenstone, Pine Road, St. Michael), on its 51st anniversary, closed its doors for good at the end of the summer term 2010, and the property went up for sale because Mrs. Carrington was then 91. All the then current teachers at Merrivale would begin teaching at the new Westwood in the next school year (2011).
  7. ^ "LSE alumna Mia Mottley elected Barbados' first female prime minister", LSE, 25 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Mia A. Mottley", Profiles of Speakers at Mona Academic Conference (31 August 2003), University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica.
  9. ^ Trevor Yearwood, "Mia Takes Over", nationnews.com (24 January 2008).
  10. ^ "Mottley replaces Arthur as opposition leader in Barbados", Caribbean360, 26 February 2013.
  11. ^ 2018 Barbados Election Centre, CaribbeanElections.com
  12. ^ "Barbados General Election Results 2018". www.caribbeanelections.com. Archived from the original on 12 September 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Barbados elects Mia Mottley as first woman PM", BBC News, 25 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Barbados announced a technical default on coupon of Eurobonds with maturity in 2035". www.cbonds.com. 7 June 2018. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  15. ^ Alleyne, Barry (28 December 2018). "The honoured ones". Nation News. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  16. ^ Alleyne, Barry (28 September 2019). "Mia's climate plea at UN". Nation News. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  17. ^ "Barbados - Prime Minister Addresses General Debate, 74th Session". UN Web TV. United Nations. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  18. ^ Sharman, Jon (16 September 2020). "Barbados to remove Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and declare republic". The Independent. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  19. ^ "Barbados PM Mia Mottley's message for Australia as her country prepares to remove Queen Elizabeth as head of state". ABC News (Australia). 17 September 2020.
  20. ^ VIDEO: 'Order of Roraima' bestowed on Barbados’ PM Mottley on YouTube, Department of Public Information, Guyana
  21. ^ National Awards announced, By Denis Chabrol, February 22, 2020; Demerara Waves Media Inc.