BLP supporters in a jubilant mood at the party's headquarters. (Picture by Sandy Pitt.)
Mia Amor Mottley is now the Prime Minister-elect of Barbados.
The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) leader and her team romped home to an unprecedented 30-nil victory at the polls last night, with a punishing defeat of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
With the demolition, the long-serving MP will today write her name on history’s page when she is sworn in as the first female Prime Minister, joining a prestigious regional list including the late Dame Eugenia Charles (Dominica), the late Janet Jagan (Guyana), Portia Simpson Miller (Jamaica) and Kamla Persad-Bissessar (Trinidad and Tobago).
The BLP’s poll party started just before midnight at its Roebuck Street, St Michael headquarters where thousands of supporters danced and sang throughout the wee hours of this morning, forcing police to block off the street to vehicular traffic.
Not my victory
“This is not my victory. This is not the Labour Party’s victory. This is the people of Barbados’ victory,” Mottley told a jam-packed Roebuck Street in her victory speech, before thanking her family, campaign manager Jerome Walcott, and consultants Dr Clyde Mascoll and Lucille Moe for the sacrifices they made in the campaign.
At around 3:40 a.m., Mottley officially acknowledged the concession speech of outgoing Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
She had earlier in the night cemented her personal victory in the St Michael North East constituency, easily beating former MP for Bridgetown, Patrick Todd.
But this was a party win all the way, with the DLP amazingly losing in its major stronghold, St John, for the first time since it had been contesting that seat in 1958, and other powerhouse constituencies such as St Philip North, St Philip West, St Michael North West and St Lucy.
For the three-week campaign there had been noticeably heavy support for the Bees at political meetings, and that manifested in former MPs such as Michael Lashley, Dr David Estwick, Chris Sinckler, Ronald Jones and Denis Kellman, all comfortable winners last time out in 2013, becoming victims of a massive national swing.
A humble Mottley thanked Barbados for the historic win, which became clear just after midnight, after the late arrival of numerous special ballot boxes at polling stations across the island.
“I have seen in my colleagues a level of commitment and sacrifice,” she added, while paying special tribute to party chairman George Payne for helping show the unity developed in the Best For Barbados team which included 20 new candidates.
“There should be no time for gloating. We are all one people. We are Barbadians,” she said to loud applause. “We will need many hands to help make light work. We will rebuild Barbados together.
“We have to get to the task immediately,” Mottley said, adding mission No. 1 was to reduce the fiscal deficit, and that she wanted a Cabinet in place by Monday.
Stuart signalled his retirement from elective politics, but indicated the Dems would definitely bounce back.
“We suffered a similar defeat in 1999. We rebounded from that and I expect us to rebound from this,” he said around 3:15 a.m. in his concession speech.
Stuart also accepted blame for the loss, saying it was on him “unequivocally”, but adding the DLP had more than enough talent to lead it back to elective prominence.