Arthur supporting BLP St Peter nominee
He may not have a say either way on who succeeds him in St Peter.
But incumbent representative Owen Arthur has revealed that tourism executive Colin Jordan is still his man in the northern riding, even though he and the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) have officially parted company.
During an interview with Barbados TODAY, Arthur, who is now a sitting Independent, said he still had no regrets about his decision to quit the main Opposition party, adding that he did not miss BLP leader Mia Mottley one bit.
But Arthur, who has already served notice of his intention to bow out of active politics at the end of his current term, said he would be a “hypocrite” if he did not to support Jordan’s bid for election to the St Peter constituency, while dismissing any notion of there being a conflict of interest in him maintaining a close working relationship with Jordan, who up to this point has been identified as the BLP’s caretaker candidate for St Peter.
“I do not know that there is any such thing. I don’t know what is happening in the Labour Party in that respect. At some stage, I suppose the Labour Party is going to have a new candidate for St Peter, but whether he is the caretaker or not, what we were doing in St Peter was not partisan,” said Arthur, who revealed that Jordan still heads up his Municipal Solid Waste Tax committee.
“We were not trying to get relief for Labour Party people, or make it a Labour Party issue, it was across the constituency,” he added.
In further defence of his close relationship with Jordan, Arthur said he has known him from the time he was a “little boy”, adding that “his father and grandfather were strong supporters of the Barbados Labour Party”.
Both men also come from the same St Peter district.
And in recent times, Arthur, who has represented the constituency for the past 30 years, had been grooming Jordan as his chosen successor.
“I was not insensitive to the fact that I am not going to go in politics forever and ever,” the former prime minister said.
He noted that Jordan had not only developed a national capacity in tourism but said he found him easy to work with.
“. . . And he was deputizing for me at functions I could not attend.
“If people misunderstood that and did not understand that that was me trying to help with the succession planning in St Peter, I am very sorry for them!” Arthur said, pointing out that he and Jordan speak often, and “that is not going to stop”.
“In fact, that is what makes my relationship with certain people in the Labour Party so ridiculous, because not only had I announced that I was not going to be a candidate again, but you would sense that I was trying to do some grooming, to try to make sure there was a seamless succession in St Peter,” Arthur said stressing that even with his departure from the BLP last month, there could never be any question of any love lost between him and his former heir apparent.
He also expressed confidence that St Peter will remain a Labour Party stronghold while stating that “I can’t now not recognise that I was involved in that exercise and Mr Jordan would have been deputising for me in St Peter when I couldn’t attend functions.
“At the opening of Farrs [ Children’s Home] I asked him to deputize for me, when computers were given to the Boscobel School . . . and in the last election when I couldn’t speak in St Peter, Mr Jordan was speaking on the platform for me,” he noted.
In addition to Jordan, Arthur keeps in close contact with several others in the BLP but his relationship with Mottley is still quite frigid.
When asked if he missed interacting with her, he responded saying: “You know people in Barbados seem not to have understood how serious I was when I wrote a letter to the parliamentary group [of the BLP] indicating in January that I was no longer going to subject myself to Ms Mottley’s leadership. I do not understand why people could not respect that that was a carefully considered opinion.
“So that there is nothing about Mia Mottley’s leadership that I can now miss when I said as far back as January that Ms Mottley could not lead me. And nothing has changed.”