Arthur’s finest vindication

What are we to make of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s favourable response to the embattled Democratic Labour Party (DLP) regime’s SOS to help extricate the Barbados economy from the terrible mess they have created largely through unsound policy decisions, despite repeated warnings, including from Arthur himself, that they were taking the country down the wrong path?

The question can be examined from two perspectives — one economic, the other political. From an economic perspective, it certainly makes good sense for the Dems, who have suffered not only a significant erosion of public confidence but also credibility over how they have run this country, to tap Arthur’s proven expertise and track record in economic management even at this eleventh hour. Key stakeholders, especially the private sector, have confidence in Arthur.

Why? Because during his 14 year tenure as prime minister and minister of finance, the economy surely prospered. Even though critics blame him for heavy borrowing which they say has contributed to the present debt problem, business boomed and Barbadians experienced a general improvement in their quality of life. And, from a political standpoint, that ultimately is what matters most to the average man and woman. Having money in their pockets.

From a political perspective, however, the move is akin to the Dems committing suicide, even though some, especially the Tommy Tucker type, will call it a masterstroke. But by running to Arthur for help, especially after seeking to discredit his credentials as an economist throughout his tenure in office, the Dems are essentially admitting his greatness and tacitly conceding that they were playing mind games with Barbadians all along.

It has to be an exceptionally sweet vindication for Arthur in the twilight of his successful three-decades-long political career. Not only have the Dems finally come around to providing a ringing endorsement of his economic management credentials but their seeing him as a saviour of sorts, indeed, amounts to a triumphant coronation for a once-vilified politician who sees his staunchest opponents crawling on their knees, eating humble pie and begging, not once but twice, “Please, please, will you come to our rescue?”

It is quite apparent that the Dems operate on a premise that Barbadians have short memories. So, for public benefit, here is a reminder of how none other than Prime Minister Stuart himself savagely denounced Arthur’s brand of economics during his contribution to the 2008 Budget Debate.

He said: “For the last 14 years we have had a version of economics, I don’t call it economics, I call it arithmetic which started from the position that as long as you fatten people from the top, there would be a spill-over and people at the bottom would necessarily get the crumbs from their table. The so-called trickle down variable of economics ”

He went on: “I believe the liberal economist J.K. Galbraith put it beautifully when he said that trickle down economics is another way of saying that if you want to give the birds more feed, you have to give the horse more oats. And that is really what has governed Barbados for the last 14 years.”

However, the greatest self-inflicted damage, from a political standpoint,  at a time when their popularity ratings have to be at an all-time low, is the fact that the Dems are admitting failure on a fundamental issue, months before they are expected to face the electorate in a general election which they claim they will win but which, from all indications, they are now even more likely to lose because of further erosion of their credibility. Credibility calls for consistency of positions. You cannot be saying one thing today and saying something fundamentally different tomorrow without justifiable reason.

When people vote a government into office, they do so with one main expectation. Namely, that the incumbent will provide meaningful solutions to the major problems they are facing so that they can get on with the pursuit of happiness through steady improvements in their quality of life. It is fair to say that this critical objective has largely remained elusive under this government as Barbadians watched the fortunes of their beloved country steadily slipping from bad to worse.

However, in what appeared to be a clear attempt to dampen public expectation that he somehow can wave a magic wand at this eleventh hour and repair in short order the serious damage done by the Dems’ mismanagement over the last four years in particular, Arthur, during an intervention on VOB’s Down to Brasstacks yesterday, indicated that the Dems waited a bit too late to do what they are doing now.

In fact, a most interesting point which he made was that the Dems had pretty much decided on economic policy for the coming year and that it will be unveiled during next week’s presentation of the Estimates. This being the case, it begs the question what really is the purpose of appointing a new Council of Economic Advisers. What specifically will be its role? What will it advise on seeing that policy has pretty much been already decided? Doesn’t it seem like a case of the cart being placed before the horse? Or, are we dealing here with another DLP distraction?

Barbados, because of the indecisiveness of the Dems, finds itself like a cancer patient who missed the opportunity to receive more effective  treatment when the illness was at stage 1 but expects a miracle now that the cancer has reached stage 3. I contended last week that that this government has lost the moral authority to govern. A political solution, in the circumstances, must be the crucial first step towards solving the economic problem.

Stuart’s weak and lacklustre leadership is really at the root of the problem. It does not motivate or inspire confidence which is a prerequisite for economic growth and prosperity to occur. In the political culture of Barbados, effective leadership from in front has always mattered. I make bold to say that if David Thompson were still with us, Barbados would not have come to this sorry pass. He would have reached out long ago, right across the political divide, and brokered a national consensus that would have formed the basis of an effective economic recovery strategy which enjoyed public buy-in.

I weep for Barbados but I do not feel any sympathy for the Dems. For being stubborn and hard ears, they deserve to get a good flogging and I have little doubt, based on my reading of the current mood of Barbadians, that voters will do so with their X’s whenever Stuart decides to call the next general election. The stinging effects will be felt for years during what will be a lengthy sojourn in the wilderness from which the Dems may not even survive because their political brand is so tarnished and discredited.

So please, without further delay, ring the bell! Barbadians, as the shareholders of this democracy, are eager for the opportunity to provide the political solution. In the national interest, let’s get it over and done with so that the country can settle down and focus 100% on revitalizing the economy.

(Reudon Eversley is a Carleton University-trained political strategist, strategic communication specialist and longstanding journalist. Email: reudon@gmx.com)

10 Responses to Arthur’s finest vindication

  1. Santini More
    Santini More March 4, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Amen!

    Reply
  2. Lennox hewitt March 4, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    So Arthur gine get tings good in 12 months i doubt i gine on record saying no he cannot 18 downgrades that’s a record .

    Reply
  3. David E Hall
    David E Hall March 4, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    I think Arthur is naive if he believes the DLP will give him any credit or public acknowledgement for contributing to the saving-of the economy . the DLP antics are merely a game and Arthur is a pawn. Just wait and see. It’s just not in their DNA to be genuine or transparent.

    Reply
    • Valerie knight March 7, 2017 at 5:34 am

      I am sure Arthur is not as naive as you think but if he can be of any help, surely this can be a good thing for the country.

      Reply
  4. Sunshine Ward March 5, 2017 at 1:27 am

    I love the politics game, it is all about kindergarten stuff, show and tell later, make John public think “that every little thing is going to be alright!!!”, but is it? The DLP has forced us, the electorate to get rid of them, to secure another party to help create peace of mind in an effort to facilitate the recovery of our economic situation. The confidence Barbadians had in our former Prime Minister is the credit that this current administration wants us to buy in on now, simply a political gimmic so that we can think and believe that we are getting the much needed help and assistance to climb over this slipper slope that the Economic sector and Financial ministry has created for us Barbadians. I want to live a simple life but with all of the taxes, all of the insecurities that fail me on a day to day basis, where my demands can not keep up with the current state of affairs, I am afraid that by the time my children come to be a woman and man, their security will certainly be fleeting if something is not done soon, so these gimmick are mind boggling at times, just like how the last administration, called upon Mr Clyde Mascoll, after he was ousted from his political party, this current administration is now doing the said same foolishness. Barbadians keep feeding the horses, we will always only get the crumbs….my goodness…. Don’t we know that we have to have root before branches??????

    Reply
  5. Taylor Dane
    Taylor Dane March 5, 2017 at 3:53 am

    Scripted excellently you are on point.

    Reply
  6. hcalndre March 5, 2017 at 7:42 am

    I heard Authur on VOB saying that when the BLP was the Government there was no way that the Union would let 2 years go without an increase in salary for the Public workers but all the past union leaders were DLP Operatives, don`t you see they all run with the DLP after the leave the workers in a quandary. Now that workers have a good young team of representatives, they are billed as new wine in something, correct me if I have not got what the PM quoted correctly.

    Reply
  7. Troy March 5, 2017 at 7:53 am

    The Scorpion and the Frog
    One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.
    The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn’t see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.
    Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.
    “Hellooo Mr. Frog!” called the scorpion across the water, “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?”
    “Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?” asked the frog hesitantly.
    “Because,” the scorpion replied, “If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!”
    Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. “What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!”
    “This is true,” agreed the scorpion, “But then I wouldn’t be able to get to the other side of the river!”
    “Alright then…how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?” said the frog.
    “Ahh…,” crooned the scorpion, “Because you see, once you’ve taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!”
    So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog’s back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog’s soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.
    Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog’s back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.
    “You fool!” croaked the frog, “Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?”
    The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog’s back.
    “I could not help myself. It is my nature.”
    Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.
    Self destruction – “Its my Nature”, said the Scorpion.

    Be warned Mr. Owen Arthur because you are the frog and the FLO is the Scorpion.

    Reply
  8. Troy March 5, 2017 at 7:57 am

    **DLP not FLO

    Reply
  9. Mark Adamson March 5, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Two things here.
    Two things here.
    1) Arthur, Mottley and the BLP pursued and put in place pernicious political economic and financial policies and programs that helped to destroy many of the political economic and financial affairs of Barbados. These people unnecessarily enlarged the size of the government to albatrossic but unsustainable levels and expanded the government taxation and borrowing amounts to astronomical levels, such that up to today the vast majority of Barbadians are living and feeling the direct and lasting social, political and other effects of such implemented policies and programs (VAT, NHC Warrens Offices Complex, Dodds Prisons, etc.). Perhaps Eversley can find out what were the theories and principles used by Arthur, Mottley and the BLP to support such gross and reckless misrule and maladministration.

    2) The present Mottley led BLP do NOT have any vision, cosmology, blueprint, that can be used by any social movements or organization to assist in the further grow and development of this country. This motley group must not be taken seriously at all. Maybe Eversley can find out what is Mottley’s plan for reducing the government’s debt, for stimulating greater business development in this country, etc.

    Reply

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