Mia Mottley vs The World

Mia Mottley, dressed formally white blazer. Speaking at COP 26.

Have you ever read Horton Hears a Who? It’s a Dr Seuss kids book about an elephant who hears a voice from a speck of dust on a flower (this is relevant, I promise). The leader of the little speck asks Horton to help keep them safe, which he does because Horton is a real one. In the midst of peril, the people who live on the speck are shouting and shouting for help until one voice breaks through to the bigger world and everyone hears the little people’s voices.

Mia Mottley is the Prime Minister of Barbados. She is the 8th PM and the first woman. She is also putting our voice out there in a way that has not been heard in a very very long time.

Just last year she took rich countries to task for their failings at handling climate change, a huge concern for the Global South. “We were the ones whose blood, sweat and tears financed the industrial revolution. Are we now to face double jeopardy by having to pay the cost as a result of those greenhouse gases from the industrial revolution? That is fundamentally unfair.”Scathing words. True words. The Caribbean, like many other countries in the Global South, not only were a source of income during the Industrial Revolution, but will be disproportionately affected by climate change if nothing is done now. We have been talking about it for a long time; this is the first time we’re being heard.

This is not the only thing she’s done since getting the post in 2018. She is also the first leader of Barbados as a republic, a movement which she has been championing since 2008 when she was Deputy Prime Minister at the time. Barbados, like Australia and many other former colonies, had the Queen as the head of state, up until 2021. It was a unanimous decision, clearly something the Bajan population had been talking about for a long time; yet it was Prime Minister Mottley’s name leading the conversation.

And it seems that her name is being thrown around in many more spaces. It seems that her name is in the halls of the UN as the next Secretary General. One can certainly see why just by watching one of her speeches, which are as powerful as they are impactful, each word precise in the overall message. She is particularly breath-taking to watch when she firmly takes journalists to task on questions that are clearly targeted towards the Global South. She can more than hold her own in conversations, debates and speeches.

Mia’s voice is breaking through to the global stage, bringing forward our thoughts, concerns and needs to a global stage. As a Caribbean woman, I find her inspiring, and I can only imagine how many little girls back home feel seeing her on-screen. I hope that our little countries can get a footing on the world stage. After all, as Mia Mottley has shown, a country is a country, no matter how small.