He failed in a bid to become Prime Minister again and is no longer Leader of the Opposition, but veteran politician Owen Arthur will be climbing the steps of Parliament on Wednesday and intends to fully participate in its debates there over the next five years.
The St, Peter MP said although he had already identified and had started to groom a successor, he would be started several projects in the northern constituency and completing his memoirs. “Really the opportunity to be involved without having the burden of leadership is a blessing in some respects and I intend to enjoy the next five years of my parliamentary life, I really am,” a jovial Arthur said this morning after taking his oath before Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave.
“People who feel that I can only be involved if I am leadingthey are so wrong and I will prove them wrong.”
The former Prime Minister told the media that contrary to what people might think he was not a “bitter” man. “I really have had a wonderful life in politics… I am not bitter at all and all I want to do is to help the young people in the Barbados Labour Party to become good parliamentarians and I will enjoy Parliament. Believe it, I am going to enjoy Parliament,” he said.
“I will never step down from St. Peter, I was elected to serve and it would be a slap in the face of the people of St. Peter for me to say I am giving up. I asked to be elected and I don’t feel that you should do those things, (if) you are asked to be elected you serve.
“…I met with my key people already, I am going to build my branch, I have a number of community projects in St. Peter that I want to work on. I will work on them, but, believe me, I enjoy representing St. Peter and being the leader of a party meant that, for example, I couldn’t
do house to house canvassing and a lot of my constituents have grown away from me. I now know their grandparents but I don’t know the youngsters and I want to get back into that part… I enjoy representing in politics,” he noted. Arthur said he would be fully engaged
in parliament’s economic debates and concentrating on writing his life and professional story
“I am working on my memoirs, I will do some writing, I will be enjoying participating in these debates because I had looked forward to the intellectual challenge of what lies before Barbados. It really was interesting from that perspective for me. It is going to take a lot of effort to put back the country right,” he said.
The former Minister of Finance, who spent much of the early part of his life as an economist in Jamaica, said his memoirs would focus on him growing up in St. Peter as “a country boy”, his Jamaica days between 1971 and 1981, in addition to “arranging all of my Prime Minister’s papers in a foundation and I will put them together so that there is a collection of Prime Minister’s papers for posterity all in one place”.
“I am also going to be doing some research and writing as well so I intend to enjoy myself,” he stated.
“I promised the (St. Peter) folks I am establishing a community park in the new areas because our problem in Barbados is that we have housing solutions but not communities, we have got to build communities. You know I am fascinated about gardening (and) I am going to have a project in St. Peter (for) the best kitchen garden, to get people back into kitchen gardening as well.”
“I want to be involved in the beautification and the greening of St. Peter as a project… I had met with my group last week and I told them we have got to work on these things. I want to show that there can be a new approach to constituency representation so I am looking forward.”