Arthur Returns to the Big Stage
Submitted 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 author, 9/1/14
I do not sing in the choir of former Prime Minister, Owen Arthur and I remain convinced that the current Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, is in the middle of the ocean, in a moses with a hole. However, I support Arthur, who is displaying an act of statesmanship, by accepting the chairmanship of the Economic Advisory Council. This is a genuine example of the politics of inclusion because Arthur has not been asked to surrender his independent status and he has not joined the ruling Democratic Labour Party.
Arthur is as guilty for the current adversarial component of our politics as any other politician because in his prime as Prime Minister with a popularity that was about to surpass Errol Barrow’s, he squandered the opportunity by becoming very abrasive toward journalists and other citizens, and eventually suffered two successive electoral defeats thereby guaranteeing a plunge in his popularity. However, he remains popular especially among those who believe that he was a good manager of the economy. In my opinion, he should have done more with the expenditure he had at his disposal but others maintain that his management of the economy was stellar. Apart from his contribution as chair of the Advisory Council, if he could at the very least keep both BLP and DLP diehards a bit quiet, he would have contributed to a decrease in the polarization that now blunts every effort of progressive and enlightened public discourse about the state of our country.
He reminds me of a batsman, who “gives away his hand” and then sits in the pavilion and tells all the other batsmen how they should bat. I believe that that for a considerable period, of his time in office, he was afflicted by managerial cataracts but since leaving Llaro Court, his vision seems to have improved. We now expect this improved or corrected vision to benefit the administration and hopefully redound to a clearer vision for Sinckler and the country. Therefore no nationalistic citizen should oppose what is essentially a meeting of minds. We can only hope that Sinckler is not so blind that nobody can make him see. The last man who attempted to correct Sinckler’s vision, the previous Governor of The Central Bank, Dr. Delisle Worrell , got fired !
There are many astute political commentators, who are seeing Arthur’s acceptance of the offer as a blow to the current leader of the Opposition, Mia Motley. It is Mottley’s fault that Arthur’s shadow still hangs over her political ambition to be Prime Minister. She allowed Arthur to undermine her on two occasions and took a considerable amount of political body blows. Quite frankly, I am very impressed that she did not leave her party as Dr. Clyde Mascoll did when he believed that some powers had conspired to remove him from leadership of the DLP and return it to the late David Thompson. I believe that Mottley has gone through the hottest fire and is now of the finest political steel. If Arthur is still a thorn in her political side, I would have to conclude that my belief that she is the finest steel would have been wrong or premature.
In terms of the DLP , it is at best a psychological victory but I don’t think that this development will automatically rescue it from what many believe is certain defeat at the polls, at the next general election. The obvious winner here is Owen Arthur, because even as his parliamentary career comes to an end and having lost his last two elections, his relevance to our country remains intact. It proves that if he had been more aware of the pinnacle on which he once stood and had not allowed the trappings of power to blind him to what he could have achieved, the Democratic Labour Party would have still been in Opposition.