Mia Mottley

Mia Amor Mottley
Leader of the Opposition (Barbados)
In office
7 February 2008  18 October 2010
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General Clifford Husbands
Deputy Dale Marshall
Preceded by David Thompson
Succeeded by Owen Arthur
Constituency Saint Michael North East
Personal details
Born (1965-10-01) 1 October 1965
Political party BLP
Profession Lawyer

Mia Amor Mottley, QC, MP (born 1 October 1965) is a Barbadian politician who has been Leader of the Opposition in Barbados since 2013. Mottley, who leads the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), was previously Leader of the Opposition from 2008 to 2010. She is a Member of Parliament for the Constituency Saint Michael-North East. From 1994 to 2008, she held a succession of ministerial portfolios.


Early life

Mottley has been much influenced by her family. She is the granddaughter of Ernest Deighton Mottley (1907–1973), a real estate broker and successful politician particularly at the parish level. He was the first Mayor of Bridgetown (1959), representing Bridgetown in the House of Assembly from 1946, who belonged to the conservative party and helped the poor. He was granted the Ordinary Commander of the Civil Division for public services in Barbados in June 1962 and assisted Wynter Algernon Crawford (1910–1993), Barbados's Trade Minister, at the Independent Conference in London during June and July 1966.

Mottley's uncle, also named Ernest Deighton Mottley (1931–2008), a refuse disposal officer who lived in Great Britain for 18 years, became the political leader of the short-lived Christian Social Democratic Party (CSD) created in March 1975.[1]
Mia's father Elliott Deighton Mottley (born 26 Nov 1939), was also a barrister who sat in the House of Assembly, albeit for a relatively short time before vacating the seat to become consul-general in New York. He was educated at Eagle Hall School, Harrison College (Barbados) and Middle Temple (London) once served as Bermuda's attorney-general and sits on Belize's Court of Appeal. He married Mia's mother Santa Amor Tappin in December 1964, just three years after being called to the Bar and was elected to represent Bridgetown (Barbados) in May 1969.
It has been suggested that the Prime Minister of the time, Errol Barrow, used his parliamentary majority to abolish local government altogether and therefore undermine Elliott Mottley's strength in the political arena.

Mia Mottley was educated at Merrivale Preparatory School (Barbados; closed summer 2010),[2] the United Nations International School (New York City), and Queen's College (Barbados).

By 1986, Mottley finalized her training as attorney and received a law degree from the London School of Economics (Houghton Street, London, England).

Mottley has grown to be among a handful of elected Barbadian officials with a family background in Barbados's parliamentary history, and her colleagues at the Bar describe her as aggressive and knowledgeable about the law, giving her gusto in the political arena.

Political career

Mottley first entered Barbadian politics in 1991, when she lost an election race in St. Michael North East against Leroy Brathwaite (a defeat of less than 200 votes). Between 1991 and 1994 she was one of two Opposition Senators in the Upper House, where she was Shadow Minister of Culture and Community Development. During that time, she also served on numerous Parliamentary Joint Select Committees on areas ranging from Praedial Larceny and Domestic Violence.

Following the BLP's victory in the 1994 general election, Mottley was appointed to the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Culture in September 1994, under Prime Minister Owen Arthur; at the age of 29, she became one of the youngest Barbadians ever to be assigned a ministerial portfolio. During her tenure she co-authored the White Paper on Education entitled Each Child Matters, which draws the link between better education and job fulfillment.

She was elected General Secretary of the Barbados Labour Party in 1996. In that same year and again in 1997, she served as Chairman of the Caricom Standing Committee of Ministers of Education.

Mottley was appointed Attorney-General and Minister of Home Affairs in August 2001 and is the first female (in Barbados) to hold this position. She is also the youngest ever Queen's Council in Barbados. In addition to being a Member of the Privy Council of Barbados, she was Leader of the House and a member of the National Security Council and the Barbados Defence Board. She is also credited with being the visionary behind the Education Sector Enhancement Programme, popularly known as "Edutech", which aims to increase the number of young people contributing to the island’s sustainable social and economic development. This revolutionary programme involves the widespread use of information and communication technologies to assist in improving the quality of the teaching/learning process.

In Youth Affairs, Mottley directed the establishment of the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme and a National Youth Development Programme.

Two years later Mottley was to serve as Barbados's second female Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Social Council of Barbados and the Deputy Chairman of Barbados' Economic Council, a position she held until 2008 that allowed her extended responsibilities, including the chairmanship of a number of key Cabinet sub-committees, notably Telecommunications Reform and one oversight of the administrative and legislative initiatives to prepare Barbados for the advent of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy.

In a government reshuffle in February 2006, Mottley was appointed as Minister of Economic Affairs and Development, a post she also held until 2008, where her responsibilities put her in charge of key economic agencies.

Following the BLP's defeat in the election held on 15 January 2008 and Owen Arthur's resignation as party leader, Mia Mottley was chosen as BLP party leader on 19 January 2008. She is the first woman to lead the party, as well as the country's first female Opposition Leader.[3] Mottley was sworn in as Opposition Leader on 7 February 2008. She promised the people that the Barbados Labour Party would be a strong and unified Opposition that would fight for the rights of all citizens in the country.

On 18 October 2010, Mottley's appointment as Leader of the Opposition was revoked following a vote of no-confidence by five of her parliamentary colleagues. The five MPs placed their support behind former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, who assumed the leadership position that same day.

In the February 2013 general election, the BLP was narrowly defeated, obtaining 14 seats against 16 for the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). A few days after the election, on 26 February 2013, the BLP parliamentary group elected Mottley as Leader of the Opposition, replacing Arthur.[4]


  1. Caribbean monthly bulletin, Volumes 7-9, Institute of Caribbean Studies, University of Puerto Rico (1973).
  2. Merrivale (Shenstone, Pine Road, St. Michael), on its 51st anniversary, closed its doors for good at the end of the summer term 2010, and the property went up for sale because Mrs. Carrington was then 91. All the then current teachers at Merrivale would begin teaching at the new Westwood in the next school year (2011).
  3. Trevor Yearwood, "Mia Takes Over", nationnews.com (24 January 2008).
  4. "Mottley replaces Arthur as opposition leader in Barbados", Caribbean360, 26 February 2013.
Political offices
Preceded by
Shadow Minister of Culture and Community Development
Succeeded by
Cynthia Forde
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Culture
Succeeded by
Ronald DaCosta Jones
Preceded by
General Secretary
Succeeded by
Joseph J. S. Atherley
Preceded by
Attorney General
Succeeded by
Dale Marshall
Preceded by
Minister of Home Affairs
Succeeded by
Dale Marshall
Preceded by
Deputy Prime Minister
Succeeded by
Freundel Jerome Stuart
Preceded by
Minister of Economic Affairs and Development
Succeeded by
Tyrone E. Barker
Preceded by
Owen Seymour Arthur
Party Leader
Succeeded by
Owen Seymour Arthur
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