Former Barbados PM's Skillful Move

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                                                           Former Barbados PM's Skillful Move

Owen Arthur
By William Skinner
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.
Mottley has had every high profile ministry outside of finance. She was even I think at one time responsible for economic affairs. She was deputy prime minister for several years and has spent twenty years plus as a parliamentarian. In addition, she has managed aspects of her party’s general election successfully. Pray tell why her colleagues watching her function so well, and at such high levels in cabinet, and the party itself, still brought back Arthur to lead them in the last general elections?
This is the question that all of her supporters, including Wickham, have not been too eager to discuss. They have found Arthur a very convenient scapegoat in order to shelter Mottley from intense public scrutiny as to why an entire parliamentary group believed she could not win a general election that was there for the taking!
By strategically removing himself from the Barbados Labour Party, Arthur has now emerged as a voice that can sway independent thinkers and voters if he plays his cards right.  I have no doubt that he can easily out fox all his erstwhile colleagues in the BLP and many in the Democratic Labour Party as well. In terms of local politics, his bold departure from the BLP and sitting as independent is the most skillful political move made in post independence Barbados.
Comparing Arthur’s departure from the BLP with Mascoll’s from the DLP is quite erroneous because while Mascoll is an economist of some standing, he cannot be considered a political heavyweight in any form or fashion. And that is where Arthur’s strength lingers.  I believe he has both the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party looking over their shoulders because as a free agent, they really don’t know and can’t tell who he gine play fuh in Parliament. Brilliant Owen!


William Skinner is a social commentator.



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