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.
Former Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, M.P., Independent
The unusual decision by a fourteen year prime minister to resign his forty three year membership in the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and to sit as an Independent continues to create ripples across the political landscape of Barbados. Further, the decision for him to sit on the government side – and on the frontbench no less – has only added oomph to the political debate. Not too long ago DLP talking heads were making political capital of Arthur’s reluctance to debate in a parliament he described as porakey. Predictably we have another politician who has exposed chameleon behaviour probably motivated by an undeclared political objective. Arthur’s inability to serve his party in the twilight of his career must be recorded as a failure of leadership on his part. What message does it send to the society when a political leader of longstanding is unable to reconcile issues to the benefit of the party. Unlike many BU believes Arthur has done his legacy irretrievable harm.
The posturing by prime minister Freundel Stuart on the day Arthur resigned from the BLP has provided insight to the Machiavellian machinations by the actors involved – there is more in the mortar than the pestle as far as this matter is concerned. Even the garrulous minister of finance was halting in his comment when asked if consideration will be given to accommodate Arthur in an advisory role. He said yes.
Less than two years ago Owen Seymour Arthur was the man the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) loved to hate. A former DLP political strategist admitted the strategy in the last election was to shine a light on all of Arthur’s skeletons secreted in many closets, and it worked. Who can forget the attack advertisements and vicious lampooning of Arthur on social media. In the last two weeks we have witnessed how members of the political class on the government side have comfortably shifted political rhetoric in the name of political expediency.
Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley (l) Owen Arthur MP (r)
The public statement by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler that he is willing to endorse former Prime Minister Owen Arthur serving on an advisory committee of government has come as a surprise to BU. His statement comes a couple days after Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made a similar statement. It is clear there is some public relations being done to smoothed or welcome Arthur’s entry into the DLP’s universe, a naked grab for a man who is widely regarded as one of the best economists in the region. The vast experience Arthur has accumulated leading Barbados for 14 years has positioned him as a priceless resource for an under resourced DLP Cabinet struggling to manage a contracting economy.
Until recently Arthur was the focal point of relentless attacks from the government that bordered on tactless and tasteless in the Lower House. Arthur may have contributed to the venomous attacks by his repeated references to a porakey parliament. BU believes the angst the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) side holds (held) for Arthur is derived from him having been the face of a successful Barbados Labour Party (BLP) for close to fifteen years. His extended tenure gave the DLP a long time in the wilderness to all but self-destruct. If Arthur had not allowed the Mascoll factor to muddy the issue for the electorate in 2007 many believe Arthur would have served another term. He was mercilessly lampooned in all areas of the media which a generous general election budget supported. An attack on Arthur that resonated with the public effectively decapitated the the BLP figurehead and shorten his coat tail. The DLP flawlessly executed the strategy to demonize Arthur in the last general election and Stuart was the beneficiary. Unfortunately the economic challenge that faced Barbados was a secondary message.
Submitted by Joan Worrell
The following was submitted before former Prime Minister submitted his resignation earlier today.
Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur
David, I am surprised that 12 hours after an interview between Owen Arthur and Kaymar Jordan captioned ‘Arthur Fed Up’ in yesterday’s edition of Barbados Today, you have not made reference to it. Prove to me and other readers of Barbados Underground that you are different from the mainstream press as you often boast. However I would be the first person to apologize to you if you are too busy to read the E-Paper. Let me give you an extract of what he said in the interview in case you were in fact too busy.
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.
Submitted by Political Commentator
Trevor Prescod – BLP M.P.
It seems as if Trevor Precod is hell bent on reducing further – if that is really possible – his already less than impressive political career. At a time when Prescod as the oldest Member of Parliament both on the BLP and DLP benches should be focusing on creating some kind of achievements record, no matter how thin in content, he has caused the public to give another and harder look at how he has been operating.
First of all, it is now patently clear that Trevor “Bum Best” Prescod has an in-built sense of inferiority that compels him to adopt servile positions to persons he considers his intellectual and or social superior. We well remember how he has hero-worshipped Don Blackman to the point where he has imitated Blackman’s style and subject of speaking to the point where Prescod unnecessarily uses big words and long and confusing sentences, full of abandoned socialist jargon, when pontificating on obscure and out-dated topics of little concern to the public. All in an effort to sound like Don Blackman reincarnated, even though Prescod’s alter ego has long ago become a discredited political maverick.
People are now sure that untrustworthy as Don Blackman has become, he would nevertheless find revolting the fact that Prescod has now switched the object of his lap dog tendencies from one who paraded himself as a champion of the “masses” from Licorish Village and the Ivy and elsewhere, to the descendant of the “classes” from Sandy Lane and other areas of residence for Barbados’ social elite.