Owen Arthur’s leadership of the Barbados Labour Party is now the subject of “discussion” as part of an effort to “get rid of him” from the helm of that political institution.
Last night Prime Minister Freundel Stuart went into the heart of St. Peter, the constituency Arthur has represented since 1984, and made that claim, as he urged people of the northern parish not to reward the former Prime Minister’s poor representation with another term in the House of Assembly.
Speaking during a public meeting in Speightstown, the DLP St. Michael South candidate asserted that even as Arthur was leading the BLP in its bid to be voted back into office after one term in Opposition, there was recent discussion on his future in the party.
“Most people in the Barbados Labour Party have always regarded him with unpretending scorn because he does not fit into the culture and the more sophisticated habits of the ruling elite in that organisation,” he stated.
“They have used him for electoral purposes, but now he is politically useless, in their secure conclaves they are discussing best how to get rid of him.
“I can tell you that for a fact, that recently a discussion took place in … upper St. Philip and that discussion had to do with how to get rid of him as leader of the Barbados Labour Party because he was no longer seen as a political asset, but seen as a political liability,”
Stuart added. Saying Arthur “suffers from a massive inferior complex” and is “chronically and pathologically insecure as a human being”, the DLP leader said the economist had disappointed St. Peter people, who when they first elected him in 1984 “expected much”.
He told the audience that Haynesley Benn, Arthur’s cousin and DLP opponent, had done a better job as parliamentary representative, and said it would be tantamount to praedial larceny for Benn to do the work and Arthur to reap the rewards in next week’s general election.
“I regret to say tonight that the present Member of Parliament of this constituency, Mr. Owen Arthur, has fallen very far short of the expectations of the people of this constituency and that the time has come when he shall be cashiered,” he said.
“There exists no basis at all on which the people of this constituency can conscientiously, sensibly, honestly, or otherwise go to the polls and vote for Owen Seymour Arthur to represent this constituency anymore.
“From 1984 until the year 2013 in the month of February he had a chance to prove himself to the people of St. Peter. If you give a man that amount of time to prove himself to you and he has not proved himself yet either he does not intend to do it or he does not know how to do it.”
Stuart said he had “witnessed close up the politics and the ethics of Haynesley Benn and I have no hesitation in coming here to St. Peter tonight to tell the people of this constituency the time has come to vote for [him]”.
“For the last five years he has been the parliamentary representative for this constituency. The politics of St. Peter cannot be seen as a case of vote one and get one free. You voted for Arthur and you got Benn free, Arthur did no work, Benn did the work and Arthur got paid,” he stated.
“That is the ethical and moral decision you have to make on February 21. It is not just a political decision it is an ethical one as well. Should a man be allowed to watch another man plant and water and nurture and when the time comes he indulges in what in the farming community is called praedial larceny, he walks off with the crops.
“And that is what Owen Arthur is asking the people of St. Peter to allow him to do.” (SC)