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NEW YORK NEW YORK – Worry over BLP fallout


Tony Best

NEW YORK NEW YORK – Worry over BLP fallout

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Dorothy is a salt-of-the-earth Bajan, hardworking and with an abundance of analytical skills that belies her elementary school education.
She is the kind of person political parties welcome, largely because once committed to a cause, she would be with you through thick and thin.
Yet, her support has shifted from the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and back again, depending on what she perceives to be in the national interest.
“I have never joined a political party in my life but I have always admired the BLP because of Sir Grantley Adams and his son, Tom Adams,” she said after hearing about the unfolding problems within the ranks of the BLP.
Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur and Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley have taken their fight into the public arena in a fashion that’s out of character with the party’s tradition of limiting internecine warfare to Roebuck Street, the BLP’s headquarters.
“But I have also backed Errol Barrow and more recently, [Prime Minister] David Thompson, when they have earned my respect and support,” she added.
Dorothy, who is in her 70s, shook her head in disgust, worrying about the fallout, not simply for the party but the country.
She is convinced that both Arthur and Mottley are more concerned about what’s good for them personally than about the fate of Barbados and the BLP at a time when some semblance of party unity is crucial and when the country has seemingly become overwhelmed by the grave illness of the Prime Minister, and the uncertainties which it has spawned.
Arthur has done more to advance Mottley’s political career than she did for herself. Yes, she won a parliamentary seat in the 1994 election and has maintained a vice grip on the constituency ever since then.
But as Prime Minister for 14 years, Arthur gave her every chance to shine, ultimately moving her into the Deputy Prime Minister’s position after the 2003 election and almost single-handedly passed on the party leadership to her in 2008, within days of the BLP’s crushing defeat.
Back then, he could easily have backed former Attorney-General Dale Marshall. But he held firm and threw his considerable weight behind his former Deputy.
Little wonder, then that some of Arthur’s supporters are concerned about his actions as Mottley tries to stave off what could become a palace coup.
Arthur is not the quintessential Boy Scout. Not at all. He fired or passed over more Cabinet ministers than any other Prime Minister in the nation’s history and his recent public criticism of Mottley lent credence to suggestions that he would undermine her leadership at any time because of his own desire to be back at the party’s helm.
Where can they go from here? Common sense should prevail. And it should force the highly intelligent and ambitious politicians to recognise that the longer the bitter impasse continues the worst off the BLP would be. Perhaps, it has already gone too far for any rapprochement.
Both should recognise that public sentiment and confidence are more on Arthur’s side than Mottley’s, and that’s because of his skill as one of the region’s best economic thinkers and decisive decision-makers.
What Mottley has on her side is youth and smarts. If she fashions an image of a person who is prepared to hold her political ambition in check for the party’s good and in the national interest, the possibilities for the future are limitless.

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