Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has dismissed his main political rival as “the barren fig tree of Barbadian politics”.
In a fiery speech last night at a joint meeting of the Democratic Labour Party St. James branches, Stuart said after 14 years in charge of the country Opposition Leader Owen Arthur had no legacy to proclaim, and was now “running around the place”.
The Prime Minister told a packed Queen’s College school hall that former leaders Sir Grantley Adams, Errol Barrow, Sir Harold St. John, Tom Adams, and Sir Lloyd Sandiford had all done memorable things, which had left the country better off than they had found it.
Arthur on the other hand, he asserted, could make no such claim despite being the country’s head between September 1994 and January 2008.
“Barbadians waited on his legacy, what he would do to give history a nudge, what he would do to make life more intelligible for the average man and woman and more abundant for the average man and woman,” the DLP leader said.
“I ask you tonight, look me in the face any one of you, based on the background I just gave with the other leaders of Barbados, … or when you go home look yourselves in the mirror, and tell me or tell yourselves what was the legacy of Owen Arthur after 14 years of government in Barbados.
“Not one of the you can tell me anything. Getting the Hilton (hotel) knocked down and being rebuilt is not a legacy, there was a Hilton hotel there from 1967, thanks to the late Wynter Algernon Crawford and the Democratic Labour Party. Widening a highway is not a legacy either, even that he couldn’t get done successfully.”
Therefore, Stuart declared, there was “absolutely nothing to which you can point to in Barbados and say ‘well look, for as long as we live we will never forget Owen Seymour Arthur for this’. He is the barren fig tree of Barbadian politics”.
The official, who is seeking to retain his St. Michael South seat when he calls the next general election, also said he did not believe Arthur when the former Prime Minister told him he was done, and it was no surprise when he came back in 2010 to be Leader of the Opposition.
“I was not wrong because in the fullness of time when he saw an opening he jumped back and reclaimed the position of Leader of the Opposition, thinking that the Democratic Labour Party was about to make the same mistake that it made in 1994, it would implode, there would be all disquiet and turmoil in Barbados and people would say ‘We need some stability and he is the figure for stability let’s call him back’. That’s what he thought,” Stuart said.
“He is out there now running around the place depriving innocent citizens of their much needed night’s rest…” (SC)