The Owen Arthur Versus Mia Mottley Rumble

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur

Amid the political rhetoric emanating from the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) political meeting held in St. Patricks on Sunday night, it was reported that former veteran BLP ministers Lammie Craig and Clyde Griffith called former Prime Minister Arthur is a spent force.  The current tussle between party leader Mottley and the Arthur camp to establish control of the party promises much more for bystanders to observe. A disunited opposition party will obviously work in favour of the government. Barbadians concern about preserving its stable political climate would be concerned when one out of a two party system becomes distracted by in-fighting.

When the BLP was defeated in the last general election there was an immediate handover of the reigns by Arthur to Mottley. It surprised many the haste at which it was done and this fuelled reports that Arthur was pressured to relinquish the position as party leader. One day Barbadians may learn about what happened at BLP headquarters in Roebuck Street.

Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley

In 2013 the next general election will be constitutionally due, Owen Arthur will be 63 years old. In the current environment with an economy spiralling caused by external shocks it is not unreasonable to expect that Barbadians may want to revert to a man who despite what his detractors believe presided over a Barbados economy in times of plenty. At 63 years old a message of being experienced and wise about the workings of the Barbados economy may work in his favour over the untested Mottley. Until the next general election is announced it serves Arthur’s interest to disrupt any public perception of Mottley becoming comfortable in the role as the Prime Minister in waiting. A recent CADRES poll which positioned Arthur on top of Mottley in national ranking should not be ignored. The assertion therefore by Clyde Griffith that Arthur is a spent force is optimistic at best.

Questions which some can legitimately pose to probe Arthur’s creditability and commitment to be involved in active politics has been his unwillingness to participate in debates in parliament. Barbadians are entitled to ask why would he not want to participate in a parliament he has condemned to be poorakey. Especially in a very challenging time for the government where his experience some may say would add value to managing the fiscal affairs of government. BU is already on record questioning the depth in the economic expertise which resides in the cabinet of government. Perhaps Arthur has been influenced in his thinking by the George Payne result in the last general election. Payne said nothing in parliament for many years but was re-elected by the people of St. Andrew albeit with a reduced margin.

It was reported in the media the BLP meeting attracted a sizeable crowd, no doubt driven by the desire of Barbadians to hear if our government in waiting has solutions to governing in the current environment, as well the expectation former Prime Minister Owen Arthur  would have appeared on the platform. Given the reported onslaught on Arthur by Lammie Craig and Clyde Griffith, one wonders how genuine the invitation for Arthur to speak on the St, Patrick’s platform would have been. A good assumption we can make is that the attack by Craig and Griffith would have been done with the blessing of Mottley.

Whatever happens now there is no turning back. Arthur and Mottley have declared their positions and there must be a winner and a loser at this point. Even if one reasons Arthur is not gunning for party leadership, it has become quite evident he prefers that Mottley not become Prime Minister of Barbados if he has a say.

The question is why.

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