Okay, full disclosure: Mia Amor Mottley, prime minister of Barbados, is perhaps our favorite world leader - next to Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand. Her brilliance and turn of phrase is, after all, renowned on the small island state. Thus when she went to New York to deliver a UN speech - the eyes (and ears) of the island were upon her. But here in Colorado, a former resident and citizen also paid rapt attention.
Ms. Mottley focused on her frustrations with inaction by the rest of the world’s nations on multiple issues she'd referenced earlier, from the limited vaccine distribution to climate change. As she put it:
. “If I used the speech prepared for me to deliver today, it will be a repetition,” she said. “A repetition of what you have heard from others, and also from me. I cannot deliver that speech. I will not repeat my statements of previous years. Why? Because we have not moved on. We have not moved the needle!"
“We are waiting, waiting for global moral strategic leadership. How many more crises need to hit before we see that the international system divides, not lifts?”
On Covid 19
“How many variants of Covid-19 must arrive before a worldwide vaccination plan is implemented?” Mottley asked. “How many more surges must there be before we genuinely believe that none are safe until all are safe?”
With those remarks she vented the frustration of all the leaders of third world states regarding the delay in getting vaccines. Here are the summary points of her speech and those interested can hear and see the entire speech at the link below:
On Climate change
PM Mottley highlighted the inequality of the climate crisis and the resources available to resolve it. “$100 billion is not enough,” she said, referring to developing countries’ pledges to annually provide money to poorer countries to help them manage the effects of global warming. “If we do not control this fire, it will burn us all down.”
On Media and High Tech
Mottley also discussed the role of the tech industry in global inequality. “We have come together to defend the right of states to tax across the digital space,” she said, contrasting that with the lack of action to protect consumers from fake news. “How much wealthier must tech firms get before we worry about how so few have access to data and knowledge?”
As we watched the speech spellbound on you tube we realized the leader of the nation where we had lived for 20 year hit every note needed. Pride welled up as we saw he vibrant UN address and speaking truth to other world powers in the process. We hope now it makes a dent and things actually start to move globally in the right direction.