Social media is commending Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley for her forthright response to a BBC reporter’s question, suggesting that her country as well as other Caribbean Nations could become “pawns” of China.
In an episode of BBC’s Global Questions program aired on August 8, Mottley sat down with Zeinab Badawi for an interview arising out of the country’s decision to remove Queen Elizabeth as its head of state.
In the programme entitled Lessons From Barbados, Badawi brought up Barbados’ relationship with other nations, saying the Caribbean region “is America’s backyard.” However, the Barbados Prime Minister corrected the reporter by advising that her choice of words “gives the wrong impression,” pointing out that “neighborhood” would have been a more suitable characterization, The National reported. Badawi then apologized for her choice of words.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley responds to BBC host's "disingenuous" question on China and the Caribbean (aired August 8, 2021) pic.twitter.com/nPbCZ3pKLp— Kawsachun News (@KawsachunNews) August 22, 2021
The reporter also highlighted a question sent by a Barbadian that presumed the Caribbean nation had been “ingratiating” itself with China, adding that the Prime Minister had been “very complimentary” about the Asian country, suggesting that “the nation's relationship with one superpower – the US – was being traded for another – China”.
But Mottley pointed out she had also passed such comments about the United Kingdom and the United States.
“But it’s not just Barbados that’s moving closer to China, it’s the whole of the Caribbean – I mean, investment from China has gone up many folds in the last few years,” Badawi said.
Mottley, however, begged to differ, saying, “It’s the whole world.”
“If I look correctly, I think the Chinese hold a large, large percentage of assets within the United States of America and a large amount of their treasuries as well,” the prime minister observed.
“So for you to focus on the Caribbean or Africa with China, without recognising the role that China is playing in Europe or the north Atlantic countries, is a bit disingenuous and really reflects more that we’re seen as pawns, regrettably, rather than countries with equal capacity to determine our destiny and to be part of that global conversation to fight the global issues of the day such as climate and the pandemic.”
Badawi responded to Mottley’s comments on a lighter note, saying, “That’s put me in my place.”
“Not at all, my dear,” the prime minister told her.
This BBC interview ends with host Zeinab Badawi's suggestion that the Caribbean region is "lacking in inclusive rights for all groups"— Kawsachun News (@KawsachunNews) August 22, 2021
PM Mottley emphasizes that "democracy doesn't only come in one flavor" pic.twitter.com/qxe6wMxMeq