EXCLUSIVE: Barbados Prime Minister Responds To Report Of LGBTQ Exclusion, Changes Visa Requirements
Barbados Prime Minister, Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, took to the parliament floor on Tuesday to respond to our report of the country's decision to exclude same-sex married couples from a special 12-month visa being offered to remote workers with an impassioned plea for equality. The requirements for the special visa as outlined on barbadoswelcomestamp.bb has changed in the last 24 hours since our story broke to be inclusive of LGBTQ couples and individuals.
The original application criteria, which required married couples to "subsist of a legally married man and woman" now reads as follows:
Applicant: Individual who will be engaging in remote work in Barbados.
Family: Applicant, spouse, partner and dependant(s)
a child or step-child under the age of 26 years;
any other relative who is, by reason of age or any infirmity of body or mind, wholly dependent on that person for his/her subsistence.
Duration of Stay: Maximum 12 months from date of approval
In response to the original language on the application requirements, Mottley said, “I am persuaded that this was perhaps a major misunderstanding where some public servant copied details from the Family Law act and presumed those details to be applicable to this legislation as well.”
Here's a full transcript of PM Mottley's remarks on the Parliament Floor.
"There's an issue as to who Barbados will welcome and who it will not welcome. Well, I want to say, as long as I am Prime Minister of this nation, we welcome all. Everyone. And that this country, that has been forged regrettably in the bowels of discrimination cannot now want to discriminate against anybody for any reason.
All must breathe. All must breathe in this world. All must breathe in this country.
And to that extent Mr. Speaker...the incident in which...and we get it, there's difficult discussions we must have as a nation and now is not the time to have those discussions. But what I do know, is that the member for St. Peter has a bill before this honorable chamber that says that there shall be no discrimination on any grounds in the workplace. And that debate will probably start later today.
No discrimination on the grounds of race, no discrimination on the grounds of age, no discrimination on the grounds of color, no discrimination on the grounds of gender, no discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
And the people that want to put us in a box that will allow people to be discriminated against for any reason, Mr. Speaker, that is not who we are. We are not that person. We are not that person. And we've never been. You know the irony is that this country has welcomed people for decades and centuries without being that person. This country has made people feel comfortable.
I am not going to be part of any communication that suggests that Barbados is trying to be half of who or what it is, and that we are sponsoring discrimination or phobias of any type."
And this folks is an example of progressive and inclusive leadership. It's a bold first step to make sure Barbados is not only welcoming to LGBTQ tourists and our allies but is a safe place for LGBTQ Barbadians to live and thrive. Bravo, Madam Prime Minister. Bravo!
You can watch PM Mottley's remarks below.