By Caribbean News Global
TORONTO, Canada – The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) won all 30 seats in Wednesday’s general elections amid COVID-19 complaints that denied Bajans a vote, a legal challenge and accusations of unfairness. However, prime minister Mia Mottley marshalled a second consecutive and historic (30-0) clean sweep at the polls, setting aside any opposition, in the newest parliamentary republic in the Caribbean.
On November 30, Barbados became the world’s newest republic. Prime minister Mia Mottley, surprised many when she called early elections on December 28, 2021 – 18 months before the constitutional deadline.
Chairman of the Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBC), Leslie Haynes, made it clear that the EBC will be “bound by the law” and, until the law is amended, COVID-19 positives in quarantine and home isolation cannot vote.
Philip Catlyn, the opposition candidate who filed a case, failed on Tuesday evening when the country’s high court ruled it had no jurisdiction to postpone the election, which took place amid rising Omicron cases.
Justice Cicely Chase has thrown out the challenge to the suit brought to halt the general elections, saying she did not have jurisdiction to hear the matter and that it ought to have been brought before an election court.
Mottley considered that the voting process will reaffirm her country’s sovereignty in its first months as a republic and needed a fresh guard to commence for the economic and development policy of Barbados.
“In times of crisis, political and social unity are indispensable. I invite all my people to exercise their right to vote with the conviction that they will all decide on our country’s destinies,” Mottley stated.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimations, the Barbadian economy grew by 3.3 percent last year after Mottley signed a US$465 million loan agreement. However, its 138-percent debt burden of the gross domestic product remains one of the highest in the Americas.
In a second term Mottley is likely to diversify the Bajan economy, post-Covid – building 10,000 homes and investment in the medicinal cannabis industry, attract more “digital nomads” to the island and lure back the Bajan diaspora. Barbados is facing a declining population and workforce, which poses threats to social security and pensions.
In her victory speech, attended by huge crowds early Thursday morning celebrating the landslide victory outside BLP’s headquarters in the capital, Bridgetown, prime minister-designate Mottley said “ as a child of democracy” the landslide victory would allow her government to “lead the country first to safety and then to prosperity” and to prepare Barbados for the challenges “of the next 10 to 15 years”.
“The people of this nation have spoken with one voice, decisively, unanimously and clearly,” prime minister-designate Mottley said in her celebratory speech, acknowledging members of the BLP, strategists and advisors “who understand the essence of being Banjan” […] “combining political and development to make life better.”
Prime minister-designate Mottley took the opportunity to announce that Dale Marshall will be appointed attorney general. Further announcements on the composition of the cabinet are expected in a national address on Monday evening.