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ONLY HUMAN: Mia’s way forward

Sanka Price

ONLY HUMAN: Mia’s way forward

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As the options for the possible resolution of the CLICO saga and the need for a forensic audit of the company were being outlined last Thursday by Oliver Jordan, of Deloitte Consulting, the judicial manager of CLICO International Life Insurance Ltd, my thoughts were on Mia Mottley.
For me, Mia had been vindicated.
You may recall that in January 2009, when it became known that CLICO was in trouble, it was Mia who called for the company to be placed under judicial management and a forensic investigation of its operations undertaken. She was also the first to advise policyholders and investors to get together to defend their rights.
Last September, three months after the Oversight Committee’s remit ended on June 20, 2010, it was Mia – like a voice crying in the wilderness – who chided the Government for allowing the affairs at CLICO to go unsupervised for three months, within the context of its financial meltdown and its obligations to depositors and investors.
Again reiterating her call for a forensic investigation into CLICO’s financial affairs, Mia was adamant that Government should have followed established procedures and exercised judicial management a long time ago. She said the manager would have ensured CLICO did not sell off its property, since those assets would be needed to pay out what was owed, and would have ensured no preferential payments to CLICO staff and family investors were made before the ordinary citizen.
On the CLICO issue, Mia demonstrated all the qualities of sound, effective leadership. It was her finest period.
Last Thursday was therefore bittersweet. While I rejoiced that CLICO policyholders/investors would definitely be getting most of their money back, I was disappointed that Mia’s voice was no longer there. Instead, she is more likely to be heard being critical of what is taking place within her Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
The background to this spat between Mia and her parliamentary colleagues dates back to her ouster as Leader of the Opposition last October leading up to her withdrawal from the election for the post of BLP chairman last Monday.  
Mia now seems to be on the sidelines of the party she led fighting to remain relevant. The question though is what should she do now?
For me, Mia has three options:
• Stay within the party and try to effect change;
• Cross over to the ruling Democratic Labour Party;
• Form her own political party.
The last option is costly and can backfire as seen with the failure of the National Democratic Party led by Dr Richie (now Sir Richard) Haynes back in 1989.
The second option is also not realistic, for as the new kid on that block, her leadership ambitions would have to play second fiddle to Chris Sinckler’s and Donville Inniss’.
Her best bet then is to stay put in the BLP and lend critical support to Opposition Leader Owen Arthur.
Mia must recognize that she does not have the confidence of her parliamentary colleagues at this time. And despite how she may feel about the manner they removed her as Opposition leader, the majority of them made that decision, and it is final.
Mia must humbly accept this setback and carry on her work within the party so that she would find favour with her colleagues again in the months and years ahead. If she continues to protest publicly about these matters, she will undoubtedly undermine the party and diminish their chances in the next general election.
And this cannot be allowed to continue. The party leadership would be within their right to run a candidate in her place in the St Michael North East constituency. Of course, that would be political suicide, but it is an option open to them. After all, she is either goin’ with Owen, or not going anywhere with the party.
Maybe Mia should learn from former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. He was removed as leader when his parliamentary colleagues felt that their party could not have won last year’s general election under his leadership.
In fact, Julia Gillard, who is now prime minister, justified Rudd’s removal by claiming that his government had “lost its way”, even though she was a key part of that government. Her pitch was that her appointment would get their party back on track. When the party won, Rudd was appointed foreign minister and he accepted the job.
Today, there seems to be hope of a Rudd return – maybe the same could happen for Mia.