Of patriotism, expediency and possibilities
Politics has often been described as a blood sport. Some would, perhaps to their possible detriment, dismiss it as simply sport.
It is not a frequent occurrence that politicians put personal interests behind those of country. But when they do, they should be congratulated for their show of patriotism.
However, before we blindly arrive at notions of patriotism, we should meticulously seek to find out if expediency or other alternative motives are being cloaked as patriotism.
If former Prime Minister Owen Arthur is to be believed –– and we have no reason to doubt his word –– the Freundel Stuart Government, though not publicly waving a white flag or raising its hands in the air, has seemingly decided to put Barbados
first in the effort to solve the island’s economic woes.
Though some might view it as surrender, with some justification, the apparent turn to Mr Arthur to chair its Council of Economic Advisers could suggest that the DLP Government is willing to tap any and every source for the greater good of Barbados, irrespective of the ridicule which this move might bring in some quarters.
Though Mr Sinckler has remained mum on whether the offer to Mr Arthur was made, the St Peter MP has admitted he has been approached. If this becomes a formal public request from the desk of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and is accepted, it could serve to once again accentuate the significant abilities of Mr Arthur.
Ironically, Mr Sinckler has been scathing in his criticisms of Mr Arthur’s abilities: from attributing many of the country’s economic woes to the veteran politician’s policies, during his tenure, to accusing Mr Arthur of camouflaging the country’s real deficit by off-budget spending.
Many months ago at a Democratic Labour Party constituency branch meeting, Mr Sinckler emphatically stated that Mr Arthur had nothing to offer Barbados. As if referring to that indictment, Mr Arthur cheekily suggested on Monday that
it seemed he did have something to offer.
It is no secret how Mr Arthur views Mr Sinckler’s grasp of economics, the Government’s performance and the impact that Mr Sinckler can have on the DLP’s future fortunes.
He has previously accused Mr Sinckler of feeding Barbadians a “diet of misinformation”. He has described Mr Sinckler as brash and likely to bring down the DLP Government by his attitude.
“With Sinckler, the best and soundest of his times have been but brash. A minister must not come to Parliament to be congratulated for bringing a deficit from 12 per cent to six per cent when it should not have been 12 per cent in the first place.
“He should have come with a contrite heart and apologized to the people of Barbados for putting the country in peril. But instead he is asking us to congratulate him on the foolishness that he has done,” Mr Arthur has previously said of Mr Sinckler and his policies.
At various stages over the past five years, Mr Arthur has described Mr Sinckler’s Budgetary Proposals as ranging from “bogus accounting” to “nothingness”, to “a leap in the dark”, to “financial siege” and to “nothing will come of nothing”.
During parliamentary debate in 2011, Mr Arthur succinctly summed up what he saw as the problem with Mr Stuart, Mr Sinckler, et al.
“The difficulty this country is facing is not only because of the global economy, but has been due to the irrational policies by the Government of Barbados, and has been due to inertia and malaise in critical ministries where there were opportunities
that could have been grasped and were not grasped.” “Our people are suffering; they cannot make ends meet. Where there was once optimism there is now despair. Our standard resilient middle class is now becoming the working poor. The working class has now been reduced to a new poverty,” Mr Arthur said.
And so now it seems Mr Arthur could be the Government’s economic saviour. This call to arms in the interest of Barbados was hinted at by Mr Sinckler, also from the floor of Parliament, during the 2011 Estimates Debate.
“We all have to put our shoulders to the wheel as Barbadians and work for the betterment of this country, because whether it is BLP in or DLP, at the end of day, we all have to live here,” Mr Sinckler stressed then.
Of course, if the SOS is officially made –– and accepted –– the partnership will have about two years to work towards a visible turnaround in the economy. Should they succeed it could be a win-win situation for Mr Arthur’s legacy and the DLP’s possible survival as a Government.
Opposition Leader Mia Mottley will be watching the developments of this overture with keen interest. But we would suggest that neither Mr Sinckler, nor Mr Arthur especially, will lose any sleep over Miss Mottley’s posible concerns of their