Submitted by William Skinner
Former Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, M.P.
Those who would seek to write off former Prime Minister Owen Arthur are making a potentially grievous political mistake. Apparently, it is now customary in our society, to declare anyone above the age of 60 as a has been. This means that all those teachers, police, nurses and others including those in the private sector, are supposed to go home at 55 or 60 and grow lettuce or roses. I respectfully beg to differ. The truth is that, as far as I know, Arthur has no impediment that will affect his ability to be a very productive citizen for many years to come.
This desire to declare people old prematurely has led to the destruction of West Indies cricket when we deliberately hastened the exit of players such as Desmond Haynes and more recently Brian Lara, out of the game before they were, in my opinion ready. When we determine that people who are that young are of no more national use, we are technically wasting all the money we have spent giving them free education!
In Arthur’s case he took about eight or years or so to master Bajan politics. While I do not “sing in his choir”, I have to really ask why the callers to the call in programs, who support Mia Mottley and the BLP are so harsh on the only political talent of any magnitude that the BLP had in its ranks. To blame Arthur for Mottley’s inability to emerge as a viable leader is a poor escape from the fact that Mottley herself is perhaps her greatest enemy. It is beyond belief that Arthur who gave her all the tools to evolve as a creditable leader is now being told he was her “problem”, according to political scientist, Peter Wickham. Wickham has gone so far as to imply that if Mottley had led the BLP in the last election, she would have been victorious. He is yet to bring any substantial argument to support such a far out conclusion.
Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley (r) Owen Arthur M.P (l)
BU has been advised the reason former Prime Minister Owen Arthur resigned from the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is because the executive was about to expel him from the party. Before the matter could be heard he quit. To be frank if this is true, and BU is doublechecking, Arthur took the right decision. The embarrassment of a former prime minister of fourteen years standing effectively being fired from the party would have been a big blow to the party for a man who has represented himself as a ‘red’ for forty years. It is unfathomable Mia Mottley had any influence in the politics of removing Arthur, if she had, some may describe it as bold politics, others incredibly stupid.
What does the future holds?
The Arthur faction is still embedded in the BLP parliamentary group, Symmonds, Payne, Marshall and there is Mascoll on the inside. This may be the first of other resignation to follow. The possibilities are endless what may result from the dysfunctional politics being played out in Barbados in both political parties. The next hurdle for Mia Mottley will be how the legal matter between two MPs on her side plays out. What the implosion of the BLP spells is that it gives wriggle room for the Stuart led government to meander on their merry way seemingly unaware of how to resolve the mounting challenges facing the country.
Submitted by Douglas
Mascoll left in the political wilderness by Arthur?
Lately, I have found myself reflecting ever so often on recent happenings in my fair land. And, as events continue to unfold, I shake my head and smile in partial disbelief; and come up with the same thematic, satiric question: Who Would Have (Thunk) Thought?
So, here goes!
Not even the world’s most spot-on clairvoyant would have predicted that in 1993 a junior Opposition MP would have leapfrogged over his colleagues and later become PM of Barbados; and, for almost 14 years to boot?
Furthermore, who would have thought that the same person – “the BLP’s saviour”, “We Going With Owen”, “Owen Now More Than Ever”, “He’s the Best Thing Since Slice Bread” – would have unceremoniously resigned from the BLP and leave them “high and dry”?
Who would have thought that the so-called BLP ‘s modern day Moses, a man synonymous with a revitalized BLP over the last two decades, would quit the party just like that?
Who would have thought that a particular person who – although a lilliputian – walked this place like a colossus, instilled fear in the hearts of many and behaved like a megalomaniac during his tenure, would so abruptly abandon his party?
Who would have thought that a man, whose shelf-life had supposedly expired in 2008, would have rebounded and toppled a person missing-in-action, not once but twice, only to leave the BEES paralyzed and in a state of total shock.
Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur
The resignation of Owen Arthur from from the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) should make Barbadians pause for several reasons. The incapacity of a former Prime Minister of fourteen years to carve out an effective role to serve his political party in the twilight of his career leaves a sour taste. If our leaders are unable to find ways to resolve conflict to the greater good of country what message does it send to the general population?
BU hesitates to join those who believe that with the exit of Arthur it leaves a clear path to unchallenged leadership for Mia Mottley. The decision by Arthur to resign from the party BUT continue to sit in parliament as an independent may yet prove to be a bane for Mottley. Unshackled from the political party that made him, he has created the opportunity to demonstrate in his post-resignation contributions to parliament why he believes the BLP has drifted from its course. For him not to record for the benefit of Hansard and to share his knowledge as a former prime minister with the people of Barbados will be a cheat on his legacy, a porakey parliament notwithstanding.
BU is of the view Arthur sincerely believes Mottley is not made of the stuff required to be a prime minister. He has stated it publicly at a press conference held at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill in 2009. And many of his statements since has demonstrated he has not shifted his position. When Mottley was selected as opposition leader after the last general election was Arthur present in the room?
Mia Mottley, Leader of the Opposition
The following is a statement issued by the leader of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party Mia Mottley. The action by Mia Mottley may prove to be a defining moment for her in the battle of public perception over BLP leadership. If she is able to rally her troops on Thursday, it will go a long way to prove she is the preferred leader.
The implementation of the Muni Tax, for whatever reason, has provoked Barbadians from all spheres to rally against it. The good thing is that it has brought focus to bear on the vexing issue of solid waste management. Barbadians must try to separate political rhetoric and naked political opportunism from the real issue read Kerri Symmonds.
Thanks #Barbados for coming out to our mass meeting last Sunday to show your support. http://bit.ly/1p7hDKx
I SHALL NOW DO MY DUTY. I propose to take that first step. I have prayed on it. I shall walk. I shall walk on Thursday at midday from Parliament to Government Headquarters on Bay Street.
Leader of the BLP Mia Mottley (l) Former Leader of the BLP Owen Arthur (r)
At a time Barbadians are crying out for leadership the official Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has pursued a strategy to retreat into political obscurity. In the same way many believe the government is responsible for rolling out policies that are heavily influenced by the dictates of international lending and credit rating agencies so too the behaviour of the BLP is being dictated by a high level of factionalism.
In is not uncommon for political parties while in opposition to engage in internal squabbling. Unfortunately this is an aged old process which serves as a crucible for the best of the best to emerge. Our democracy was tested in the Thompson versus Mascoll years and history seems destine to be repeated with the Mottley versus Arthur saga now playing out.
Mia Mottley has had to suffer the ignominy of being rejected by parliamentary colleagues. We all remember the so named Gang of 5 who anticipated an easy win at the polls with Thompson’s death imminent and in the Prior Park Accord recalled Arthur to keep out Mottley. What cursory study reveals is that there is an influential element in the BLP who come hell or high water will fight against Mottley becoming prime minister of Barbados. What makes a mockery of our party system is the political gimmicks which an unsuspecting electorate must endure as narrow and selfish interest play out within political parties. The irony is that Arthur has suffered two devastating defeats and yet the message is still not clear to the Arthur faction.