Georgetown Americas Institute Hosts Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley
On October 13, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Amor Mottley addressed the Georgetown community in an event hosted by the Georgetown Americas Institute (GAI) and moderated by GAI Founding Director Alejandro Werner.
Youth, Leadership, and Change
Mottley opened her remarks by reaffirming her commitment to youth around the world. She highlighted the power of continuing education and mentioned that ideas from academia impact policy. However, she said that people’s values and philosophies were the most relevant gifts they could bring into the world coming out of an academic setting.
The only thing constant about the world is change. What is required now is to change the tools and the arsenal to tackle issues like inequality.
Mottley believes more strategic and united leadership is required to tackle social issues, not only at the government level, but also in other types of organizations such as civil society and religious institutions.
Addressing Global Crises
The prime minister also touched upon global challenges like inequality, climate change, and food insecurity. Regarding inequality, she stated that the Global South and the Global North were experiencing similar situations and doubted the efficiency and validity of the neoliberal consensus. She called out what she termed “the cementing of the status quo,” referring to the deep economic divisions that have exacerbated inequality in the United States.
We need to change the system so it works for the people, rather than having people work for the system.
Climate change is of particular importance to Mottley, given that Caribbean islands like Barbados are among the countries most affected by climate change due to rising sea levels and warming temperatures.
“The climate crisis exists because of the blood, sweat, and tears of our people that went into the industrial revolution,” she said, “and that industrial revolution has caused us the same grief because we are now at the forefront of the climate crisis.”
She suggested the creation of new financial frameworks that include insurance in times of natural disasters. Mottley applauded the world’s commitment and ambition for climate justice and net zero emissions, but she fears that the relationship between commitment and capacity is not where it needs to be.
Democratic Resilience and Unity
Looking forward, Mottley urged all countries to resist the temptation of turning authoritarian during crises. She underscored the significance of a united front against challenges such as climate change, called for justice and solidarity for all, and emphasized the “power of the pen” as an effective tool to create change.