Preliminary results showed the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) swept all 30 seats in Parliament.
BLP Leader Mia Mottley, the prime minister-elect, said she wanted to thank Barbadians for doing “what is best for Barbados.” The 52-year-old also thanked outgoing Prime Minister Stuart “for his service to Barbados,” but reminded the nation that “the people have spoken.
“The victory is not mine, not the Barbados Labour Party, this victory is the people of Barbados victory,” Mottley said.
She said she wanted the victory to be recognized also as “a people’s campaign” and welcomed the new legislators who had embarked on “this special journey.
“Leading this team has been the privilege of my life,” Mottley said. “It is now for us to move forward because the electioneering has stopped.”
She also thanked those who had offered themselves and had not been successful.
“I urge them to continue in the spirit of service and … in building this country,” Mottley said, adding that she would begin the task of rebuilding the country “immediately.
“There can be no time for gloating … moaning,” Mottley said. “We are one people, we are Barbadians and this should come as no surprise to you because … there is a time for healing because if we are to move forward and face the challenges before us we have to be prepared to heal and allow many hands to make light work.
“As for the mandate you have given us … each of us will have a role to play,” she said, adding “we have no time but to get to the task.”
The elections were fought against the backdrop of a worsening economic situation in Barbados and Mottley said that in order to move forward her administration planned to release the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) report so Barbadians will know what is expected going forward.
“We have also committed to releasing the noose of taxes around our necks,” she added. “… If this economy is to grow again, then … that will be business number one for us.
“My friend, the task before us will not be easy. There is no elixir, there is no magical remedy, there is no single shock solution, but if we do not move with alacrity we will not succeed and what we have promised you is to stop the bleeding, but at the same time lay the platform for the transformation of our nation.
“As it relates to the mandate you have given us, I am deeply conscious that in the absence of an official Opposition in the House of Assembly we will have to evolve institutional arrangements to be able to allow Barbadians to have a greater say in the governance of this country,” she told the nation.
Mottley said that the Cabinet will remind the country that “all ideas must contend.”
She said even before the government has a right to take a decision “all ideas must contend and we have already committed in our manifesto to putting in place a framework for people’s initiatives that come from you and are not started with us.
“We have committed to referenda because we believe there are certain fundamental issues that we must consult with you on. Some will be binding and some will be advisory.”
But Mottley pledged “that there will be no gloating, that there is no way there will be a mistrust of the absolute mandate that you have given us, the people of the Barbados Labour Party.”
She also pledged that her administration “would be your stewards at all times.
“Let us move forward recognizing that this truly is a defining moment in our history,” Mottley said. “Not for what people will immediately assume about me being a woman, but more so it is about people claiming their future and the people of Barbados …have claimed their future with a new interactive mode of governance.”