What tactician Arthur?
Someone wrote: “Many Barbadians believe in the world of local politics Opposition Leader Owen Arthur stands head and shoulders above the rest as the master tactician.”
I have heard that before, but I am yet to hear that comment from someone other than a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) adherent. Where is the evidence to support this hypothesis? Other than BLP members who spout this propaganda, who are these many Barbadians that believe that Arthur is this master tactician?
Arthur became leader of the BLP after Henry Forde came to the realization he would never be able to lead the party to victory, which made him sick, and he demitted office as political leader of the BLP and Leader of the Opposition. At that time, Arthur was the only member of the BLP parliamentary group who was not gainfully employed outside of holding a seat in the House.
He was then managed and his every step choreographed by David Simmons and a few others to make him political leader and Opposition Leader in order to give him a decent salary.
You should recall that the death of Errol Barrow caused a fracture in the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in such a way that the party became unmanageable with the Dems descending into turmoil. That instability, coupled with a recession in the early 1990s, made the DLP extremely unattractive to the electorate.
Arthur’s victory in 1994 came as no surprise and was like taking candy from a baby. So far up to 1994, there is no evidence of any master tactician emerging.
His skills as a master tactician eventually only benefited the Dems. Rather than reward his party faithful, Arthur started on a campaign that he called the politics of inclusion. It only alienated his membership and cleaned out the malcontents from the DLP who were destabilizing their party.
As a result, the committed Dems were able to rebuild their party, thanks to Arthur’s foolhardy politics of inclusion. They were then in a position to appear united enough to capture the Government and share the fatted calf.
Politics of inclusion aside, Arthur’s single most act of political idiocy is trying to find a safe seat for Clyde Mascoll. Nothing that Arthur does in trying to portray Mascoll as the victim when he was removed as DLP leader will wash away the perceived stain of betrayal that covers Mascoll for his unprecedented jump to the BLP.
As one young lady put it, the captain does not jump ship and join the pirates; he goes down with his ship.
Attempting to force Mascoll down the throats of the BLP and the electorate would only benefit the Dems. Generally, the country does not like Mascoll, and Arthur does not have the redeeming blood with which to cleanse him.
Another example of being in the right place at the right time: Arthur did not forge any unexpected relationship with George Payne, as we are being led to believe.
That relationship fell into his lap: it resulted from an arrogant Mia Mottley overplaying her hand and quite foolishly challenging George Payne for the chairmanship of the BLP, which forced Payne uncomfortably into Arthur’s camp.
You should recall that it was Payne’s vote that made Mottley Leader of the Opposition, and it was Payne’s vote that removed her for what could only be seen as treachery if you were viewing things from Payne’s perspective.
It is clear that both Arthur and Mottley have more ambition than common sense.
Arthur has never really been tested in any aspect of his leadership as political leader, Prime Minister or Minister of Finance.
As political leader, he was manoeuvred into position by others, and led the BLP into elections against a DLP that could not get its act together.
As Minister of Finance, he presided over the economy in times of plenty. The only thing going for him now with respect to being Minister of Finance where he continues to look good is that the present minister seems not to have a clue.
An unbiased observer would tell you that this master tactician threw away the Government more so than the DLP wrestling it away from him.