Arthur: Time for healing
OWEN?ARTHUR is committed to uniting the Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
Hailed by dozens of party faithfuls yesterday morning on his return to Parliament as the new Opposition Leader, Arthur said he was looking forward to serving party and country.
“There has to be healing. I would rather not be in this position, but I am in this position by the will of the majority of the parliamentary group, and the will of the majority has to be respected.
“Once we have gone through this process, there has to be a process of healing. There is no Owen Arthur Labour Party, no George Payne Labour Party, no Dale Marshall Labour Party, or Mia Mottley Labour Party. There is a Labour Party.
“We have had 72 years of existence as an institution. We have had crises in the past and we will rise above this,” he said shortly after arriving to loud applause from a few dozen supporters.
Arthur, who celebrated his 61st birthday on Sunday, made it clear he would not be involved in any witch hunt.
“I am here to build and I look forward to that opportunity,” he said.
Arthur, Prime Minister from 1994 to 2008, said being Leader of the Opposition was not new to him, having served in that role for the first time in 1993.
Noting that he was humbled by this re-elevation, Arthur said he was assuming this position at a time when the country was facing a “severe crisis” and his concern was not so much with party as with country.
Colleague Cynthia Forde, the Member of Parliament (MP) for St Thomas, arrived an hour and a half after her new leader, and was quick to commit herself to both party and country.
“Cynthia Forde is the Member of Parliament for St Thomas and will represent the interests of the people of St Thomas. A Labour Party by birth, I shall continue to remain that way.
“The Labour Party must flourish and all of us have to be united in order to be the alternative Government. So I am here ready, willing and able to work on behalf of my constituents, members of the Labour Party and, indeed, Barbados.
“I?am a member of the Barbados Labour Party and shall be till I die,” she said.
The changing of the guard in the Opposition had the effect of attracting one of the largest gatherings in recent times, with just over 50 Barbadians entering the visitors’ gallery. (MK)