Popular electronic outlets for citizens to air their views like call-in programmes and Internet blogs ought to have a “framework of accountability. That’s according to Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who called for support systems, including researchers and expert advice, for Parliament, failing which the unregulated new technologies could marginalise that institution. – Nation Newspaper (7/19/06)
When Mia Mottley issued the above position several years ago it was interpreted by many as an intimidatory tactic from a ‘powerful’ member of the government frontbench. A few years later to BU’s pleasant surprise Mia Mottley is reported to have made the following statement in a local newspaper – former Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, is suggesting that Barbadians use social media as an avenue to bring about change. She made the call during a social media seminar put on by Flying Fish Studios Inc. at the Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre yesterday….
Mia Mottley has been unusually mute in recent weeks after being sacked from the job as opposition leader. BU would have expected her to issue a clear the air statement on the Marston Gibson matter to acknowledge whether she was consulted by late Prime Minister David Thompson as the law demands. Her silence is an obvious sign she is playing a waiting game. BU believes Mottley is attempting to reinvent herself as the leader of the Barbados Labour Party in waiting.
One stark difference between Mottley’s dispensation as opposition leader and Arthur’s had been her willingness to use social media, including the blogs nome de plumes and all, to communicate with people who feel more comfortable in the virtual world. What has made the social media an effective tool is the extent to which blogs have now integrated with Facebook and Twitter to form an effective tool to help shape agendas. At the press of a button on a computer keyboard tens of thousands of Barbadians can read a message if it goes ‘viral’. The Arthur camp seems happy to use the traditional approach. It was surprising to listen to BLP Jerome Walcott knocking the need to use non traditional approaches in the St. John by-election. Yes it was a slam dunk DLP Mara Thompson would have won the seat but there was the opportunity to communicate to a national audience with a general election constitutionally due very soon.
Mia Mottley’s appeal to Barbadians to use social media demonstrates she recognizes the power of this medium and she intends to leverage it to win support for her positions in the coming months. It is a smart move by her given the position she now finds herself, a far distant from when she was Deputy Prime Minister in 2006. Now she is happy to eat crow to satisfy political expediency.
The coming weeks will be very interesting for the Barbados Labour Party and Mia Mottley to see how they are able to mend fences to create the public perception of a united party going into a general election. Unlike the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) when they had the Thompson Mascoll feud, Mascoll became the ointment for the bruise when de decided to cross the floor.