| Mia Mottley is Barbados' first female prime minister thanks to Rihanna
The Caribbean island of Barbados has just elected its first female prime minister and pop superstar, Rihanna, might have had something to do with it.
Mia Mottley of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) won last week’s election, after a homophobic campaign from her opposition that used speculations about her sexuality in a negative campaign.
But her campaign received a healthy push after Barbados-native, Rihanna gave her a casual endorsement on Instagram.
Rihanna had commented on her good friend, Leandra Goodridge’s Instagram post claiming Mottley would be the next prime minister.
‘Yeeeeeessssss… She deserves it!’ Rihanna replied.
Mottley won the election in a landslide and will remain prime minister for the next five years. She thanked the pop star for ‘all that love and support and blessings’.
Rihanna took to Instagram again to celebrate Mottley’s win.
‘Say hello to my new prime minister and most importantly the FIRST FEMALE prime minister of Barbados… the honorable Prime Minister @mamottley ’
Mottley’s LGBTI record
Homosexuality is illegal in Barbados which has some of the harshest laws in the world. Its sodomy laws call for life imprisonment, in a country where LGBTI people face extreme levels of discrimination and violence.
The BLP who have resumed power for the first time in ten years, does not have any official policies on LGBTI issues or same-sex marriage. But it promised to hold a referendum about marriage equality.
‘We have said that repeatedly. We believe that no 30 people (MPs) should be allowed to make decisions on issues that go to the heart of the nation’s collective values. This issue can only be determined by the outcome of a referendum,’ reads the BLP manifesto.
One of the party’s winning candidate, Cynthia Forde, said the BLD would not pursue any ‘gay agenda’.
‘Nobody in the Barbados Labour Party is interested in any same sex marriage,’ she told Barbados Today.
‘I am not interested in any man marrying a man or a woman marrying a woman. That is their private life. Do what they feel like in their bedrooms, but do not bring that as part of the Barbados Labour Party’s agenda.’
But the LGBTI community is hopeful things will improve because of Mottley’s track record.
Mottley was Barbados’ Attorney General from 2001 and ordered research into laws that could help reduce new HIV cases. That research concluded that it was critical the country overturn its anti-sodomy law. But strong public opinion about the issued forced the government to stop trying to change the law.