Arthur fed up

Former prime minister tired of being ‘source of discord’

Saying he was fed up and tired of being perceived “as a source of discord” within the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP), former Prime Minister Owen Arthur plans to make a definitive statement tomorrow on his future relationship with the BLP, which he led for over 15 years.

Arthur served notice of his intention mere hours after the BLP, under the leadership of Mia Mottley, held a protest march through the streets of The City today against the Government’s introduction of the controversial Municipal Solid Waste Tax.

However, Arthur, who was noticeably absent from today’s “white march” which was attended by the other 13 sitting BLP Members of Parliament, said his decision to “abstain” was based on principle.

In an interview with Barbados TODAY, the St Peter MP also admitted to feeling “conflicted” as he promised to say definitively tomorrow whether he felt he still had a future with the BLP.

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur
Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur

“I am tired being perceived as the source of discord in the party, and tomorrow I will be making a definitive position in terms of my future relationship with the Barbados Labour Party,” said Arthur.

Pressed to say whether he would be resigning, Arthur would only say “you will get it [my statement] tomorrow, but it will be very definitive”.

At issue for him, is Mottley’s stance that there needs to be repeal of the Municipal Solid Waste Tax.

Arthur, who was Prime Minister for 14 years, said it would be “hypocritical” for him to support such a call at this stage, since one of his first acts when he took over the Government in 1994, was to introduce an environmental levy.

“I am the only person in Barbados who cannot with honour, participate in an event with the intention of protesting totally against a Government introducing a measure to raise resources for environmental solutions, and  I cannot do that with any honour because I introduced one as my first act as Minister of Finance and Prime Minister of Barbados,” he told Barbados TODAY, adding that his decision was prompted then by three reasons that remain valid.

“The first is that at the Rio Summit in 1991, the global community . . . committed itself to heightenng the fight to find solutions to environmental issues and urged that countries and governments introduce in their fiscal system, measures to raise resources for environmental management and sustainable development on the basis of the ‘polluter pays’ principle.

“It is for that reason that in 1995 I introduced an environmental levy as Minister of Finance,” Arthur recalled.

He noted that the levy, which was in existence for 15 years, was introduced at a time when the absence of resources for environmental development and management led to a debacle at Mangrove called Mount Stinkeroo “and it was no longer acceptable that the country should see the absence of financial resources as a reason why we have Mount Stinkeroos in Barbados”.

He said his former administration had also accepted that environmental management issues were going to factor heavier and heavier in the context of public policy in Barbados.

“We had to put in a South Coast Sewerage System. We still need one for the West Coast. We had to deal with Mangrove. You had to protect the shoreline; and I could go on.”

Based on that, Arthur said he could not now fault the Freundel Stuart administration for its move to apply resources to deal with environmental management, even as he warned “you have to do it properly”.

“This Government abolished the environmental levy and then came with a tax that was absurd. It is [now] trying to make the tax sensible. But I cannot participate with honour in [a march] to have no environmental resources at all,” said Arthur.

He went on to dismiss Mottley’s proposal for a water levy to replace the Municipal Solid Waste Tax, saying it would only make matters worse.

“That would cause me, if that was to be the proposal, to do in St Peter, what I did in relation to the municipal tax. I would have to urge my constituents not to pay that too. So I am therefore in a very conflicted position,” he said.

“I have already indicated that I was not comfortable with what the Democratic Labour Party had done. They have shown an initiative to try to address that. I am not happy with what the Labour Party has put on the table. In fact, I think that will lead to a worse situation; and, therefore, I abstained and I am going to address this matter further in the context of its politics tomorrow. But I abstained today because having introduced an environmental levy, I can’t tell the country now that the Government cannot raise resources for environmental management. I can’t do that. It is not fair,” he stressed.

In a further knock on the knuckles of Mottley, he said: “It is naive to say that we got this vast problem, but it can’t be addressed.”

However, he does see some validity in the argument by Opposition MP Kerrie Symmonds earlier this week when he warned that the country faces “a financial cliff from which we have to come back”.

“It is a $1.8 billion [problem] and there are going to be no solutions that are painless; some will be very unpopular,” warned Arthur.

Within the context of recent statements to the effect that the country now was now “broke”, Arthur also warned that “the last thing” Barbados should want to do now is to go to the International Monetary Fund, which he said “will be more painful than a tax on water or a tax on solid waste”.


26 Responses to Arthur fed up

  1. Corey Worrell
    Corey Worrell July 25, 2014 at 12:42 am

    i will definitely be listening out for this

  2. Hope Bless
    Hope Bless July 25, 2014 at 1:18 am

    Lord help Barbados we need yours hands

  3. Gregston Griffith
    Gregston Griffith July 25, 2014 at 1:40 am

    Owen you r not my cup of tea but what u r saying have very much true in it. Mia know that u were coming back so she did trick u this time but getting nsome popular vote bymarching yesterday and u would find it difficult to come back at this stage. She did kill your timing but if u want to cross the floor it ok lol and bring back Mascol and kerrie WE know u love Barrow and the DLP s show the worldhow much u love Barbados. Smesay u had your time but I believe in de old wine it always most time betta than the new one.

  4. Ryan Bayne
    Ryan Bayne July 25, 2014 at 1:56 am

    Owen Seymor Arthur, you will sorely be missed.

  5. Maya Trotz
    Maya Trotz July 25, 2014 at 4:27 am

    On the topic of the now repealed Environmental Levy Act which taxed non organic imports, how did they deal with the fact that close to 60% of the island waste is organic, especially yard waste?

  6. Cheryl A Rollins
    Cheryl A Rollins July 25, 2014 at 4:41 am

    Go and rest yourself Owen, you are tired and the future of this country is no longer in your hands. I have confidence in the young brigade, there is something called CHANGE that you and George Payne have a problem with. Time to change the way we do business around here. Adios!!!

  7. Jacinta Lashley
    Jacinta Lashley July 25, 2014 at 4:44 am

    It’s about time! In your face butt kicking Arthur. And bring along Mascol with you. He looks like he is dragging his low self esteem on the ground behind him.

    It takes a REAL MAN TO BE A MAN. The strap-on can’t pass the test of time, cause nothing real can come out of a false ick, you heard!

  8. Lynn Lucas
    Lynn Lucas July 25, 2014 at 4:55 am

    You have made your contribution, thank you for your services. Now fade off into the sunset and write your memoirs. You are an elder statesman act that way!!!

  9. Greitcha Smith
    Greitcha Smith July 25, 2014 at 5:10 am

    Has any ever seen the UK TV series called House of Cards? Look it up lol

  10. hlh July 25, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Well said. Your time is up and you Mr. Arthur should be supporting the people who supported you when you where in power, not trying to railroad them. Stop what you are doing and help your parties leader and your people to find a way out of this.

  11. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall July 25, 2014 at 6:18 am

    Thank you for your good service to Barbados and securing government worker jobs.

  12. Santini More
    Santini More July 25, 2014 at 6:22 am

    You cannot lose 2 straight elections and then demand to still lead the Party from the ‘back seat’. Mr. Arthur you have had your time, and made a significant contribution to Barbados. But now is the time to retire and let the party develop without the distractions of internal conflict.

  13. Anderson Yard
    Anderson Yard July 25, 2014 at 6:51 am

    owen u had your time mia Is right choice so we will see you later try do ur best help her

  14. Daniel Burton
    Daniel Burton July 25, 2014 at 7:06 am

    I personally have no.problem with an environmental levy applied at the port. The biggest issue for me and I’m sure a lot of people is the totally absurd and ridiculous way that the solid waste tax is calculated. How can waste generated have anything to do with a property.

  15. Eddie Smith
    Eddie Smith July 25, 2014 at 7:19 am

    So what else can we conclude with all that has happened recently and your refusal to support the march? This after being the first (I believe) to have stepped forward to speak out about the tax and going as far as drafting a protest letter to the Government!!

  16. Tracey Skeete-Winter
    Tracey Skeete-Winter July 25, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Any thing to help the environment for the future of my children my only problem with the tax is how it is calculated.

  17. Olutoye Walrond July 25, 2014 at 9:06 am

    So – I publicly declare I have no confidence in my party’s leader;
    I criticise decisions made by my leader, presumably by consensus;
    I make a public issue out of not supporting events organized by my leader and then I complain about being perceived as a source of discord.

    One of these things just doesn’t belong here, and it is the last one, Mr. Arthur. You ARE a source of discord by your own making.

    This has nothing to do with the Rio summit; it has everything to do organizational indiscipline.
    Your, yourself, are opposed to the tax: “This Government abolished the environmental levy and then came with a tax that was absurd. It is [now] trying to make the tax sensible.” Your words.

    Perhaps the time has come for you to just go quietly into the night.

    Those of us who marched did so because we share your view.

  18. Mervyn Corbin July 25, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I am sick and tire of hearing from the Motley supporter that “his time is up”. Your time is up when you can no longer contribute in a meaningful way. Barbados is where it is because Barbadians have gamble with success after 13 years. There are some who want power at any cost and this is the price you have to pay. As a Barbadian looking from abroad I would put my money on Mr. Arthur to restore some sanity to this little Rock. From what I have read he did in the pass and I believe he has the credentials and experience to do it again. Mr. Arthur leaving politics is Barbados and Caribbean lost. Barbados politics needs fresh ideas taxing its way out of recession is not practical it will have some repercussions.

  19. Quincy B July 25, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Seriously Uncle Owen? I am now more convinced than ever that your best possible course of action is to repair to West Terrace and read your little book of limericks. In Tom Adams’ words you have inflicted more damage than a hurricane on the Party that gave you the avenue to reach the heights you did. Bajans have clearly shown they no longer want you as their leader. First in 2008 and again in 2013. Try and go long home and cock up ya foot and enjoy life before alzheimers or dementia sets in. Right now you are only succeeding in spiting your own legacy. Sayanora!

  20. Patrick Blackman July 25, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Olutoye … Owen knew she was extremely naive and would take this country down the wrong path but you would never get that, may we can take another trip to the moon, the journey would give you enough time to get an education.

  21. Anthony Bannister July 25, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Typical of folks like Mr.WALROND,They never seem to appreciate the fact that to live in heaven you must DIE,no objectivity just concern about their own little puerile existence to feed you must pay the Piper .Everyone want’s to live but no one’s prepared to die .To receive the benefits of a good life sacrifices have to be made Owen recognized that it’s a pity others don’t.

  22. Ricky Riley July 25, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    I have read some of the comments here and laughed. Supporting a party in a decision that is pointless, counter productive to just toe party lines is not in the best interest of the country. That is a position that has BARBADOS in the place that we are in with the DLP government we are saddled with. In 2008 the BLP lost the government to the DLP 20 to 10. In 2013 the BLP gained 5 seats conversely the DLP lost 5, but held on by a slim majority of 2 seats, yet some DLP supporter wold write the crap they did above. Mr Arthur has served this country well and I wish him the best going forward.
    To Miss Mottley I say best wishes as well, for now you have a clear path on which to proceed, for now…

  23. babsie July 25, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Mr Arthur was not the first and he won’t be the last to leave the BLP. There were others who went before him for various reasons;
    There was Grantley who made way for Cummins who was followed by Bree who lost and Tom step up to the plate, Bree was returned and next in line was Henry who set aside and made way for Owen.

    The changing of the guard at no time destroyed the Party, it is 75 years strong and still going.

    In order to achieve greatness on must be humble.

    Diotrophes, a presumptuous man, who loved the preeminence in a church, proved he was not of God (III John 1:9-11). Such a spirit and conduct cannot be tolerated in a ministerial candidate, for he must be a servant, not a lord (Luke 22:24-27; I Tim 3:6; I Pet 5:1-4).


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