Owen missing in action

dlp candidate says

opposition leader was

hardly in the chamber

The man in charge of the House of Assembly for the last five years says Barbados Labour Party leader, Owen Arthur, has been missing in action and does not deserve more time to extend his leave of absence.

Democratic Labour Party St. Michael West candidate Michael Carrington also thinks the BLP has done nothing which warrants its return to Government after just one term in Opposition.

The attorney-at-law was speaking last night at Passage Road in the City as the DLP officially started its campaign for the February 21 general election. Carrington, noting that at the time he was speaker of the House previously and therefore could not comment on Arthur’s absence, said he could now break his silence and confirm statements that the BLP leader was hardly in the chamber.

“As speaker of the House I can say to you that when the minister of finance says and when the Prime Minister says that the leader of the Barbados Labour Party is hardly in the House there are correct,” he said.

“He has not been in the House and he expects to come and lead us… Owen Arthur very early in this term he came in to me one day and he said, ‘Mr. Speaker I came to pay you my compliments and want to say to you that I mean you no disrespect but the air quality in the House is giving me some trouble’,” he recalled.

But the DLP member said even after he discussed the issue with the clerk of Parliament and two new air purifiers were purchased and placed in the chamber, Arthur still didn’t attend sessions of the assembly.

Carrington said Arthur subsequently told him that he wanted to give the young people in the House a chance to contribute, and that he told the former Prime Minister that he should resign and let Barbados have a by-election in St. Peter, prompting Arthur to smile.

“He didn’t resign but help is on the way because my friend Haynesley Benn and the people of St. Peter are going to fire him,” he said. The candidate, who represented St. Michael West in the last parliamentary term, said both he as representative and the DLP as Government could “come back to the people” and deservedly ask for another opportunity to serve. This was primarily based on his view that despite substantial economic challenges, the administration had achieved great things and looked after the needs of Barbadians.

“I can truly say that the economic challenges which we have faced have not been caused by the Democratic Labour Party; the recession was not our fault. In 2008 you elect the Democratic Labour Party Government in Barbados. In November 2008 a black man like myself and so many of us was elected president of the United States,” he noted.

“Barack Obama is an extremely gifted politician. I have learnt that history has a way of putting specific people in specific stations at specific times and I am saying to you that the Democratic Labour Party was put in office in 2008 for a particular reason because the Barbados Labour Party had never dealt with a global recession before and that is why we were put in place,” he added.

Carrington also said that while the DLP’s political opponents would continue to blame it for the island’s economic challenges, the fact was that this was largely out of the Freundel Stuart Administration’s control, given that Barbados was an open economy easily affected by what took place in major international markets.

“I am putting this in context because we have to also recognise that what we do here in Barbados … is affected by what happens in the (United) States and elsewhere. The price of everything and the cost of living, that is affected by the price of oil, wheat, corn and soya,” he said.

“I am saying to you that when we talk about the difficulties which we have been experiencing in Barbados we also have to look at the difficulties worldwide.

“There are some people in the Barbados Labour Party … walking around and they are saying that is not so and I wonder where they have been… Despite the tough circumstances which we have been undergoing during the last five years we have been able to do a lot.

New schools have been built and many refurbished, new six forms have been opened, the Alexandra issue has been solved.” (SC)

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