Owen Arthur’s commitment to Caribbean integration came under scrutiny last night as the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) defended its decision to nominate St Lucian born Mara Thompson as the candidate for the Jan 20 by-election in St John.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Finance Minister Chris Sinckler and the candidate herself, all questioned the commitment of the former prime minister to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) as the DLP pitched tent in Coach Hill, St John.
“This nationality talk is coming now from someone who trumpeted the CSME,” said Stuart as he wrapped up the meeting.
“Between 1994 and 2008 Arthur ran up and down the Caribbean trumpeting the cause of CSME, giving all the impression he was deeply committed to Caribbean integration,” Stuart said of former prime minister Arthur.
“Now he is asking us and the people of Barbados to discrimate against people on the basis of where they were born…in spite of fact bdians have held parliamentary positions in other parts of Commonwealth. I take offence at that.”
Similarly, Sinckler observed: “Could you imagine a man who promoted himself as great integrationalist would want to prosecute Mara because she was born in St Lucia.“This is the same man who had admitted having undocumented Guyanese working at his house.”
Stuart said: “I am genuinely offended that we have got to a stage in Barbadian politics of nationality have come to the surface”.