Mia Mottley Hopes for Win in Snap Election After Leading Barbados to Republic

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley is hoping that her internationally acclaimed profile will translate to a win at the polls on Wednesday.

Mottley called an early election last month and has been campaigning on the slogan, “It’s safer with Mia – stay the course.”

Mottley was praised for her COP26 speech, divorcing Queen Elizabeth to become a Republic, and for making singer Rihanna a national hero.

However, some have opposed her leadership. She received backlash during the pandemic and some called her a dictator.

The Democratic Labour Party led by Verla De Peiza accused her of depriving more than 5,500 Bajans of voting while they are in quarantine, as the country battles the Omicron variant.

Lucille Moe, a former minister who was sacked by Mottley, has sided with the opposition. “She is autocratic and does not allow anyone to have an opposing view or opinion. Everyone must be in the Mia Mottley choir,” Moe said.

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP), which she leads, won all 30 seats in the 2018 election and is now attempting to repeat history on Wednesday.

Voting begins at 6 a.m. on Wednesday and the polls will close at 6 p.m.

Mischief Makers Lose Seats in Parliament

Following the defeat of the Free National Movement at the polls, winners have emerged but none include the infamous parliamentarians who have openly defied the former government and its policies.

Former FNM members who became independent parliamentarians Reece Chipman and Halson Moultrie, and outspoken FNM MP Frederick McAlpine who was for years at odds with the party, all lost their seats in unofficial results.

Reece Chipman

Chipman has constantly criticized the government and has never supported its agenda. However, he still suffered politically.

Chipman was a newcomer to politics in 2017, running on the FNM ticket during the general elections, subsequently ousting former Prime Minister Perry Christie and winning a PLP stronghold.

Chipman voted against the VAT increase and the resolution to lease the Town Centre Mall from former Cabinet minister Brent Symonette.  He eventually resigned from the party in 2019 citing the government’s handling of Hurricane Dorian and partisan politics.

PLP Jomo Campbell replaces Chipman in Centerville.

Halson Moultrie

Moultrie received little votes in Nassau Village as constituents went with PLP Jamahl Strachan, instead.

Moultrie was an antagonistic voice in Parliament where he served as Speaker.  He resigned from the FNM in February of this year, but refused to resign as the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

Moultrie was a thorn in the side of the FNM government calling for autonomy of the House and upping his ante during the pandemic when he contrived an idea to hold an ‘open parliament’ after Parliament went on recess.

The Nassau Village MP gained the support of third parties like the Democratic National Alliance and the Coalition of Independents who joined him in his protest against the Minnis-led government and its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. But he did little to gain the support of his constituents.

Frederick McAlpine

McAlpine may have thought he was going to win Pineridge, but constituents replaced him with PLP Ginger Moxey.

He has been the most outspoken member of the FNM government, often hitting out at Minnis during his presentations in the House.

He ran as an independent candidate for the Pineridge constituency in this election after he did not receive the FNM nomination. Many still expected him to win his seat in Pineridge because of the loud support he garnered in spite of his opposition against his party members.

He has had a long and rather cold relationship with the FNM and said that members in his party wanted him gone while complaining that the party leader ignored him.

In a surprising move, Pineridge went with Moxey, despite McAlpine’s touts of his accomplishments in the area.


New Coalition Group Formed to Challenge General Election

House Speaker and former Free National Movement MP Halson Moultrie joined third parties to form a coalition that would vie for the next government of the Bahamas.

According to a post by Eye Witness News, the United Coalition Party led by Cassius Stuart, leader of the Bahamas Democratic Movement, announced its formation today following days of negotiation with third parties.

In a picture, a controversial Moultrie is seen with Leader of the Bahamas Constitution Party Allie McIntosh and Leader of the Operation Sovereign Bahamas Adrian Francis behind a table, presenting themselves as members of this new political party.

Moultrie is one of a few FNM members who have left the party to become independent members.

Last week, Moultrie, a group of third parties and independent candidates gathered in Parliament Square, attempting to implement an ‘open parliament’, but their plans were squashed as Parliament was prorogued and eventually dissolved.

Instead, the group spewed anti-government rhetoric while criticizing Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.

UCP is expected to finalize the list of candidates to run in the General Election.

Attempts to bring Arinthia Komolafe of the Democratic National Alliance and Lincoln Bain of the Coalition of Independents reportedly failed.

Picture credit: Eye Witness News

Minnis Calls Snap Election for September 16

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis is calling an early election for September 16.

In a leaked letter to the Governor-General, Minnis is officially seeking a snap election and asking for a new parliament by October 6th.

“Pursuant to Articles 65 and 67 of the Constitution, I have the honor to advise your excellency to issue Writs of Election on the 19th day of August 2021, to cause a general election of members of the House of Assembly to be made on the 16th day of September 2021 according to law, and to order a new Parliament to meet on Wednesday the 6th day of October 2021.”

The big picture

Speculations of an early election have been rife since earlier in the year.

The governing party and the opposition have been ratifying candidates and heavily campaigning.

The official opposition party and other third parties have been agitating for an early election, prompting citizens and residents to register to vote.

Yesterday, PLP Leader Philip Davis called on Minnis to “ring the bell.” He said the election is “the first step to better days.”

Why it matters

This means Bahamians will go to the polls eight months ahead of schedule.

Minnis’ decision to call an early election is a gamble as the country is gripped with high cases of hospitalization and deaths due to COVID-19.

Yesterday, in a surprising turn of events, Parliament was prorogued and was expected to resume September 22.

Now that election will be called early, Parliament will instead have to be dissolved. This is when the life of parliament ends, every seat in the House becomes vacant and parliamentarians must render themselves as candidates.

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