News Americas Now features CARICOM Chair and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
She is head of an Eastern Caribbean island but also chair of the Caribbean Community, (CARICOM), and on Thursday she again proved is the region’s boldest advocate. Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley has been consistent in ensuring she does not miss an opportunity to speak up and speak out for the region. On Thursday, she used her virtual address to the UN’s high-level virtual meeting of world leaders to lay down a clear marker. “I hope that this high-level session will not simply be the record of glorious speeches but will trigger action that is needed badly,” Mottley boldly said at a conference where Canada is competing for 1 of 2 non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council. The call to action was just her latest in remarks she has made on the region’s behalf when given international platforms.
Last week, in a statement cosigned with the UN Resident Coordinator, Didier Trebucq that focused on the vulnerable position of Caribbean states in the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Mottley said “it cannot be business as usual.” “Effective response demands decisive leadership and commitment from all partners around the globe to ensure that ‘no one is left behind’ and ‘no country is left behind,” she added.”
And last month, speaking to Christiane Amanpour, the Chief International Anchor for CNN, Mottley, said CARICOM needs to re-purpose the Bretton Woods institutions and have a global leadership initiative to make sure “we are really reacting to what is real.”
Mottley has in the past also called for a vulnerability index assessing how developing countries like hers are exposed to economic and public health issues like climate change, and she used the interview to reiterate her position including the inclusion of natural disaster clauses in sovereign debt contracts. She said regarding the vulnerability index, the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat has settled on a framework in 1989 and “we believe it needs to be revisited, but we believe you can’t determine whether we need access to funding,” citing as an example, the Caribbean having to pay out US$8.8 billion in debt over the next two years.
This week, she insisted to the BBC that safety remains issue number one for Caribbean countries mulling the reopening of borders following the COVID-19 lockdown and said Barbados will not rush to reopen its borders. It is her consistent advocate for the region versus just country that has set her apart and won her credit globally as one of the most powerful female leaders today.
[CARICOM Chair and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley at the 2019 Global Citizen Festival: Power The Movement in Central Park in September 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen).]