Down to the wire

Sinckler and Stuart will be tough to beat, warns Arthur

Don’t rule out the incumbent Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) just yet.

This sound word of caution from former Prime Minister Owen Arthur today as he gave his frank and independent assessment of the outcome of the next general elections, constitutionally due here by the middle of next year.

Arthur, who currently sits as the independent St Peter representative in the House of Assembly, told Barbados TODAY while he believes the Mia Mottley-led Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) stands a good chance of winning the next election, he expects the poll to go down to the wire, in a constituency by constituency race.

With the election temperature in the country currently rising to fever pitch, Arthur warned critics of the Government to “never underestimate the Democratic Labour Party”.

In fact, based on his own experience with Stuart and the DLP, he further cautioned that, “in every election a point comes when the Dems become the Dems again”.

He recalled that this was precisely the case in the 2013 general election in which the BLP, under his leadership at the time, was comfortably leading in the public opinion polls.

“The polls were showing that Freundel was at eight per cent in the polls, but once elections were called he ran ahead of me in the polls because the Dems had become Dems again,” Arthur said, explaining that the DLP, which led the country into independence, has long been associated with a number of “iconic and invocative symbols” such as the achievement of free education and has traditionally enjoyed “a stronger base” of support than the BLP.

Arthur, who served as prime minister from 1994 to 2008, said the reality on the ground was also borne out in result of the 1994 general elections.

“In 1994 after the [then ruling] Democratic Labour Party had cut people’s wages by eight per cent and sent home 3,000 people, the Barbados Labour Party still did not get 50 per cent of the vote, because the Democratic Labour Party base still held. That is why I am not going to call this election,” he told Barbados TODAY, in reference to the upcoming poll.

However, he pointed out that in 1994, the then Opposition BLP was helped by the fact that a third party, formed out of the bosom of the DLP, had contested that election and made a substantial difference in some constituencies.

“For example, I don’t think that [BLP’s candidate Elizabeth] Liz Thompson would have had a political career if she had to contest the ‘94 elections against [the DLP’s] Clyde Mascoll only,” Arthur said, arguing that the intervention of Wendell McClean on the National Democratic Party ticket had made a difference in terms of the result in St James South which Thompson won with 43 per cent of the vote, compared to Mascoll’s 38.91 per cent. McClean claimed the other 16 per cent of the votes in the seat that was also contested by independent Glenroy Straughn.

However, with fresh elections due here by June 2018, Arthur cautioned that the difference this time around was that “there are a number of third parties, formed, not out of the Dems, but out of the Barbados Labour Party”.

He stressed that “while the third party presence may not be strong enough for the third party to win a seat, it may be strong enough to make the difference in terms of who wins the election”.

This he said was made even more palpable with the BLP currently holding on to a number of “razor thin” margins, particularly in the bellwether constituencies of St Michael.

“For example, a very strong candidate against [the BLP’s Jeffrey] Bostic in The City will cause Bostic problems,” Arthur said, while also warning that the backs of Opposition incumbents Ronald Toppin, Kerrie Simmons, Santia Bradshaw and Trevor Prescod were also up against the wall.

At the same time, he suggested that even with the economy currently in the dumps, DLP incumbents, including embattled Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, would be hard to beat.

“The third parties are really led by [Barbados] Labour Party people and I would have thought that the so-called elders and gurus in the BLP would have understood that you want to go into an election having healed the wounds in the party and go in with a united force, rather than having to go into an election having to face the canon fire being poured in by the Democratic Labour Party and the canon fire being poured in by third party candidates who ought to be members of the Barbados Labour Party.

“So I don’t know how that is going to play out, but where the margins are slim you can have interesting results,” Arthur said, adding that “the strong suit of the BLP is that the economy is in a bad shape”.

However, he cautioned that with the election likely to go down to the wire, the BLP needed to focus on its strong economic legacy and to avoid getting caught up in ‘gimmicks’, such as promising to abolish the National Social Responsibility Levy, to increase public sector wages and to reinstate tertiary education without having a full grasp of the severity of the economic challenges at hand.

17 Responses to Down to the wire

  1. oilman November 28, 2017 at 10:47 pm


  2. straight talk November 29, 2017 at 12:11 am

    Mr. Arthur you have tried everything to destroy the BLP and I am expecting worst from you. The same people that said all kind of bad things to you in parliement you are now joining with dem.Those people only acknowledged you after you left the party and began to tear it apart.

  3. hcalndre November 29, 2017 at 1:27 am

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

  4. hcalndre November 29, 2017 at 2:07 am

    Mr. Arthur; You said a couple things here that has me confused like when you said that the ex BLP members should have healed the wounds, stood together and have a united force, what about you? you were the head honcho and you having been the leader of the BLP and has now become a friend of the enemy or as I would say a traitor. Why have you not pointed some of the reasons that the DLP pull it off by the skin of their teeth with deep pockets and that you were going to privatized the Buses and old people would not able to ride them because of the cost of the fares and how many workers that would be laid off and as the won, 3000 workers were let go, no buses, taxes and more taxes, what I know about the bajan that they are gluttons for punishment where other people would make a stand.

  5. RD November 29, 2017 at 3:59 am

    What a ting!!!

  6. Leroy November 29, 2017 at 4:02 am

    Everything he said is noted but Owen is underestimating the swing, it will overshadow all that he said and lift all blp votes. Some people will win under blp ticket inspite of their personal influences and some dlp members will loose despite of personal influences, i suspect fruendel to be one.

  7. straight talk November 29, 2017 at 5:01 am

    I will hurt owen if the BLP win the election it may even take him to his grave.

    • straight talk November 29, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      Sorry , it would owen if the BLP win the election and it may even take him to his grave

  8. archy perch November 29, 2017 at 5:04 am

    The former Mr. BLP himself has termed it correctly. Gimmicks of the present leaders of the crooked Barbados Labour Party which he led with iron fists.The man knows politricks of the opposition, he knows everybody over their and he knows his former team that still support him and give him information.
    Arthur knows Mia would NEVER be Prime Minister of Barbados. It is more likely to be George Payne who also has those ambitions.

  9. Mark Adamson November 29, 2017 at 7:00 am

    Owen Arthur’s assessment of the election result to come, is bang on. It is hard to call at this point in time.

    Three things here:

    1) Mottley is the WORST, POOREST, WEAKEST BLP leader EVER. Full stop!! She does not even have any vision, not a blueprint, not a cosmology, that can be used by any social movement or organization to assist in the further growth and development of this country. At this juncture in the post independent history of this country, any person who is purporting to be a national leader of Barbados must have a vision for the country, a cosmology to express it and a blueprint to concretize it. So, imagine the BLP having such a leader that can mainly be found to be coming up with such stupid and ignorant offerings like free wifi across the country, compulsory access to potable water, increase in MPs, removal of the so-called NSRL, reversal of the policy to make University of West Indies Cave Hill students contribute reasonable amounts towards helping finance the growing UWI Cave Hill costs. Imagine such. Mottley does NOT have it to become any prime minister of any government of this country. What a political buffoon she is!!

    2) Mottley is the ONLY Opposition Leader in the post independent history of Barbados that is carrying so much negative baggage with them going into a general election. Thousands upon thousands of people have levelled various kinds of serious and disturbing allegations of moral and sexual improprieties against her, her practicing law in this country without an LEC, etc, Additionally, Mottley is not a charismatic and inspirational leader and therefore and rightly so she does not have any coattails like Toms Adams, Owen Arthur to drag along with her marginal to mediocre candidates like Trevor Prescod, Ronald
    Toppin, Santia Bradshaw, Ian Gooding-Edgehill,

    3) There are 11 parties in existence in this country and of which 1
    the PEP – a newer party – will not be contesting the next general
    election – How sad for the PEP. Anyhow, the newer parties – will
    help to engineer the next election outcome in this country. It is the
    first time in the history of electoral politics of Barbados that so many more citizens have taken such a substantial and active interest in the electoral and national politics of this country to the extent that there will be more than 120 candidates running in the next elections in this country. This reflects the great extent to which so many people are sick, tired, fed up and frustrated with the politics of the BLP and DLP, and also reflects a serious and welcome realignment that is taking place in the party political dispensation in this country.

    • Leroy November 29, 2017 at 8:23 am

      1. What vision Fruendel has?

      2. How many of these “allegations” are factual?

      3. Name me one outside party candidate that you think will win or rob enough votes to cause an “unexpected” result.

  10. Greengiant November 29, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Many truths, some emotions, but yes many of the alternative parties, or their candidates are directly from within the corridors of Roebuck Street.

  11. Saga Boy November 29, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Leroy do you live in Barbados? Do you honestly believe the allegations against Mia are made up?

  12. Kevin November 29, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    People underestimate Frenduel all the time…

  13. Helicopter(8P) November 29, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Owen you been realy doing your research and cronicles!

  14. Lorenzo November 29, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Mark adamson what is your political record in Barbados?How many Elections have you won,if any?You are a political lightweight not fit to even tie ms motleys shoe laces and you got the audacity to be calling Ms motley a weak leader?I believe you referring to the current PM,you are a comedian who belong in Comedy Fest.What is your claim to fame?Ms Mottley is head and shoulders above any current MP in Parliament with the possible exception of Mr Owen Arthur,so put that in your pipe and smoke it JA.

  15. Nathaniel Samuels November 29, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Mark Adamson is a puppet who just regurgitates what others tell him, an Eric ‘Fly’ Sealy. Any original thought he comes up with is so far-fetched and stupid we should really spend no time with him.
    I have grown to appreciate the woman that is Mia Mottley and I find her to be well read, a sharp thinker, one who is proactive, has an abundance of workable ideas and is very smart. To me, she is the most competent of the politicians in Barbados and she gives confidence; something lacking in the politicians here.
    I hope that she and the BLP win the election so that there be renewed confidence in this our country and we can again become the regional and international entity that they all admire.
    Neither the DLP nor any of the other political parties have it in them to bring Barbados back from the brink. In fact, the Treasury will have a bountiful day when it collects all those deposits after election day.


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