Mia Mottley setting the standards for us to follow
It is a pleasing sight to see Mia Mottley as a Caribbean leader rising to international prominence and the first, in my view, since Eric Williams, of Trinidad, was recognised for being a wise intellectual. Ms Mottley deserves to be there, chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
I recall in the first two books I wrote, I made the point that morality and principle are not noteworthy because of the size of the country, but rather by the size of your ideals. Naturally, I had reserved that spot for Bermuda, but there, too, it is not a gift people must be worthy of being honourable.
Mia Mottley stepped outside the norms and did not depend on the same old, same old, or the doctrine of complacency and historical rhetoric that keeps so many politicians and parties in power. She stepped outside the box and dared to talk to the world about its moral responsibility.
The sociology of her rise to political power is also of interest. She did not arrive by way of the British-formatted labour movement and parties that swept the region during the 1960s. She is linked by every social stature with her father, Eric Mottley, who was once Bermuda's attorney-general and has family firmly of middle to the upper middle-class background — essentially from that same class of Black folk that has been suppressed in places such as Bermuda.
The “Bay Street Boys”, the equivalent of Bermuda's “Forty Thieves” are ancient history. Barbados is more than 90 per cent Black; therefore, the political dynamic allows a greater focus on the management of the economy and the general spread of wealth. The significant socioeconomic and political issue for Barbados is closing the economic gap and spreading opportunity.
One big feature of her intrusion in the Barbadian political scene is she went in with a clean sweep, completely reorganising the government; in some cases removing everyone from the top down to eradicate a culture in government that had grown over decades and was anti-progressive. Ms Mottley is rebranding Barbados as a “smart” jurisdiction and taking the lead on environmental issues and global warming.
As relevant as is the fight to sustain the balance of human habits and consumption with the Earth's natural environment and sustainability, there is another element that is even in greater need. Human interaction, and how we relate and function in our society, is of importance because the ideal of lawfulness, cohesion and the ability to work together for the betterment of all is essential to be able to attain the ideals espoused on any topic about sustainability and environment.
This is the area where political philosophy and ideals count. Barbados is now a republic but how will that translate into the rights of every citizen of that republic? Will, as in the past, the rights and power of its citizens be subverted by proximity to party leadership?
The door is left wide open for any small-island jurisdiction to set the mark for what would be an ideal world. I am sure there is the temptation for Bermuda to take the popularity of Mia Mottley to get some local political movements, which may not be a bad thing. However, you cannot paint stripes on a horse and call it a zebra.
Bermuda's leadership challenge is to make out of diversity one people, with one aim that supersedes our past and allows the country to unite under a common destiny. The existing political model is still built on division and, as long as it is, there is little point in looking at Barbados.
Mia Mottley has left an opening yet to be filled; it is the road few in history have truly attempted to travel. There would be no liberty without bold ideals of freedom paved by brave souls, and there will be no future without leaders today who are willing to carry the torch of the ideals for all of humanity's freedoms to the next generations.