Responding last night for the first time to repeated statements by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart that he previously asked Stuart to relieve him of colleague Mia Mottley, Barbados Labour Party leader Owen Arthur did not deny the Prime Minister’s claim, but said it was just “a little banter”.
Arthur addressed the issue last night when he officially launched his party’s general election manifesto at Eagle Hall, St. Michael.
He spoke in the context of what he said was an increasing DLP attempt “to run a campaign asking you to vote for them because there is division in the Barbados Labour Party and vote for them because of something called privatisation”.
“Let me be candid with you. There was a time when we had issues in the Barbados Labour Party, of which you know, like any family and I told Mia Mottley … ‘the party needs you, the country needs you’ and I shall not depart from those words,” he told the large audience.
“I stepped down as the Shadow Minister of Finance and made Mia Mottley speak on financial matters in Parliament on behalf of the Barbados Labour Party.
“Now on one occasion Freundel and I were in a little bit of banter in the House. I foolishly tried to indulge in a little banter with him, so he says he (will) exchange some of his men for Mia, or I said it the other way, and we laughed at it. That is what it was, a little banter between two men.
“He had problems with his side, at that stage things were not well with us so ‘You tek dat, I tek dem!’. And now that is to be a big issue,” he said.
Arthur, who was welcomed on stage by Mottley last night, told the St. Michael North East candidate he had “important work” for her to do and that Barbados needed her.
“What you all are being asked not to take cognizance of [is] it is not just the division between the personalities in the Democratic Labour Party, but the fundamental divisions between the members of the party on fundamental matters affecting the well being of you all,” he said.
“And they have sought to use what I call the politics of … hypocrisy to try to make privatisation the issue upon which this election decided.” (SC)