Arthur’s recall to national service

It’s not yet official but former Prime Minister Owen Arthur has confirmed to Barbados TODAY that he will be shortly lending his expertise to support the sputtering economic revitalization efforts of the Freundel Stuart administration.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Chris Sinckler told yesterday’s news conference on the economy, three days following the sacking of Central Bank Governor Dr Delisle Worrell, that he was revamping the Council of Economic Advisers, with the intent of making an announcement shortly, and that Barbadians would be “generally happy” with the persons who have agreed to come on board in the national interest.

Mr Arthur is tipped to serve as chairman. Official confirmation of his appointment to this informal body, formerly headed by retired University of the West Indies economist Professor Sir Frank Alleyne, will undoubtedly receive the thumbs-up from most major interest groups, especially the private sector, which from time to time has expressed serious misgivings about the economic policy direction under Mr Sinckler’s watch.

As Mr Sinckler noted in a gleeful voice, most Barbadians will also be happy. However, for the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP), from which Mr Arthur resigned two years ago amid seemingly irreconcilable differences with current leader Mia Mottley, the move most likely will be viewed with cynicism and suspicion.

As private sector confidence in particular is key to achieving sustained growth which is pivotal to turning around the economy, tapping Mr Arthur’s expertise and experience, even at this eleventh hour, represents a shrewd political move by the embattled Freundel Stuart administration. Mr Arthur’s presence, for sure, will give some much-needed credibility to and restore some confidence in the economic policy-making process, once the administration is willing to accept and act on the advice given.

Some political observers, however, will regard the seemingly reluctant embrace of Mr Arthur by the DLP as a case of eating humble pie, a tacit admission of failure on their part, and a political vindication of the former Prime Minister, seeing that the Dems had expended so much time and energy over the years seeking to discredit his credentials as a top-rated economist for political purposes. Indeed, the DLP fought the last general election on the argument that Mr Arthur was unsuitable to serve again as the country’s leader.

Just over a year ago, Barbados TODAY had reported that the DLP had approached Mr Arthur about serving in the said capacity. However, somewhere along the way, there was an unexplained change of heart. The  decision to make this fresh approach, and Prime Minister Stuart’s approval, comes against the backdrop of great concern about a sharp deterioration in the country’s external position and the related consequences of running low on foreign reserves.

Mr Arthur is well qualified to serve and ought to be highly commended, for rising above the pettiness of the partisan politics, especially the past attempts to smear his professional reputation, and recognizing that he has a duty, as an elder statesman, to come to the service of the nation during what is undoubtedly one of its darkest hours in the post Independence experience.

Mr Arthur’s track record in government speaks for itself. While some critics blame him for increasing the national debt and contributing to the current problems, the fact of the matter is that Barbadians have confidence in his ability because they experienced generally good times during his tenure as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs. His 14 years in office were characterized by persistent economic growth that redounded to the benefit of most Barbadians who fondly refer to that period as a time when they had “nuff” money in their pockets.

Now that Dems have finally come around to deciding that they too are going with Owen, Barbadians naturally will look forward to some improvement in their circumstances. It is not going to be a quick fix but with the right policies, an enabling framework for a more robust and sustained recovery certainly can be laid. However, time is not a luxury for the DLP whose fate will be decided in about a year when its mandate comes up for renewal in general elections. Considering their current unpopularity, the odds do not seem in their favour though surprises do occur in politics.

Life is full of ironies. With the DLP’s call-up of Mr Arthur to national service, given all the negative things that they said about him, it seems we have a genuine case of a stone that was rejected by the builder, ending up being seen as the chief cornerstone. We wish Mr Arthur well in this assignment. After all, his success is critical to the success of this fair land that we love and call home.

16 Responses to Arthur’s recall to national service

  1. Michelle Griffith
    Michelle Griffith February 28, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    Saw this coming,had this conversation today,with a BLP supporter,and to be honest we all know what is going on here.
    I love it though,things going to now get interesting.

    Reply
    • Jarmara Chandler
      Jarmara Chandler February 28, 2017 at 11:11 pm

      I’m seeing it in black and white but finding it hard to believe. “Interesting” you say lol its gonna be a lot more than that I think elections are constitutional due in 2018

      Reply
    • Michelle Griffith
      Michelle Griffith February 28, 2017 at 11:17 pm

      I love it,we all know Mr Arthur will go all out so Mia do not become PM,as I said I had the conversation today with a BLP supporter,and from listening to him,they don’t like this,they know how this man feels about Mia,and to be honest it is a good move on the DLP’s part,

      Reply
  2. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn February 28, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Well you all should make him the prime minister.

    Reply
  3. Ricardo Bascombe
    Ricardo Bascombe February 28, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    To late dems have to go

    Reply
  4. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn February 28, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    I cannot see how DLP blame this man for the heavy death burden of this country, and now you all want him back. So you telling me that he put it in ,And he have to take it out.

    Reply
    • Michelle Griffith
      Michelle Griffith February 28, 2017 at 10:47 pm

      Angus this can only mean what we knew all along,the DLP in trouble,it is as bad as we thought,so that’s why they need his help.

      Reply
    • Samantha Brathwaite
      Samantha Brathwaite February 28, 2017 at 11:11 pm

      these people really mekking mocksport at we

      Reply
  5. Coloured Red
    Coloured Red February 28, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    I lost bad or beat bad MIA said he was part of her group just like this one and Arthur cuss her said she was a death spot smfh

    Reply
  6. Joy Waldron
    Joy Waldron February 28, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Hmmm smhh polotricks for ya hear let’s wait see how this circus plays out .
    Selling tickets who buying ??

    Reply
  7. Anne Ince
    Anne Ince February 28, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Amazing….screw the people…. The games people play. Imjs…

    Reply
  8. Greengiant February 28, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    I honestly don’t think this is about any election or political stunts. Arthur like any other economist or finance minister would have learned from mistakes made. Remember, his experience in Jamaica stands before him, so it’s not only about the fourteen years as PM of Barbados.

    Rather than compliment the government for having the courage to make the decision, you BLP supporters can only see victory and power to your party. I’m not a supporter of either party but the BLP under the leadership of Motley has engaged the advice of Clyde Mascol who they ridiculed as leader of the then opposition DLP. So to the supporters of both parties, you all are like the pot and kettle on the same old oil stove. Void of new ideas, and lacking sound, creative, modern economical leadership. The DLP and BLP engaging the advice of Arthur and Mascol respectively after being publicly discredited by the current leaders of both parties shows the these two parties have no regard for the people and would betray our confidence for the sole purpose of retaining power. So please tell me. Is it not time for a fresh start? They both should be taught a harsh lesson at the polls.

    Reply
  9. Bobolee Popo February 28, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    in 2008 Owen stood up in parliament and offered is expertise as it relates to the economy of Barbados and the DLP punish him with laughter..
    .. when someone lacks integrity..they will perish..

    Reply
  10. Tony Webster March 1, 2017 at 6:46 am

    What a box to put oneself in: Effin the Big Brain Group, led by such an emminent man, comes up with all the right policies; and if the uthuh Big brain Thursduh Throng, listens carefully…and understands……and summons the political and other strenths to accept these…AND implements all swiftly (as is their usual wont)…they will take all the political credit for a Master Stroke.

    On the uthuh hand, if DEM merely see this as a God-Given (sorry, an Arthur-Given) chance to cat-spraddle the Cool Cat… whilst blithely IGNORING the sage advice and accompanying Bad-tasting medicine prescribed and continue to blithely continue to exactly as they now please, it’s still a good move…a chance to pull a few more misguided votes, at little or no political risk.

    However, on De Turd (sorry Third) hand, if the Devil and the Good Lord so arrange matters, that all Bajans who have been bitten twice….wish to be bitten Thrice…there is a chance that our former , highly regarded, P.M., MIGHT become Sir Arthur…or he might (but this is of infinite doubt) even become our first Non-Executive President under a new constitution.

    Efiin…on the Fourth Hand, …the DEM get their just deserts…they will lay the blame…on “poor advice”.

    Q.E.D…. and Yes, Lord…Hear our Prayers…and Cumfa…Quick.

    Reply
  11. Zeus March 1, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Some of wunna say fruendel ain’t know what he doing lololol…….the sleeping giant ……froon…….the silent one ……call him what you may but this man making Mia look like a novice …..and with no ones help all alone no political scientist no column writers no media house in his corner

    Reply
  12. sticks and stones March 1, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    a move that rattled and shaked the foundations of the blp party.

    Reply

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