Loud applause from Government members of Parliament greeted St Peter MP Owen Arthur as he took up his new seat as an independent member in the House of Assembly today.
His appearance in the House came less than two weeks after Arthur, a former prime minister, ended his 43-year affiliation with the Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
But rather than remaining on the same side with his former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) colleagues, the veteran politician was placed on the same side with Government, a short distance away from the parliamentary representative for St Lucy Denis Kellman.
Arthur sat through the debate with an impassive impression that bordered on being bored at times.
His contribution, though, to the debate on the resolution to compulsorily acquire Sam Lord’s Castle remained in line with his previously stated position on ways of stimulating the tourism sector.
“Things are now working on this side,” Arthur quipped at the start of his contribution, to laughter from members of the House.
His comments were well noted by Kerrie Symmonds, the leader of Opposition Business in the House.
“I was heartened to see the nods of agreement and indeed even more heartened to hear the thumping on the table of the Government benches when the right honourable gentlemen from St Peter took his seat,” noted Symmonds, the MP for St James Central.
“I said to myself that perhaps it is just a question of where one sits in this place because the substance of that which I heard was the identical thing to that which I have experienced when he sat next to me. So perhaps it’s a question of locale that allows the Government to hear and hopefully it will encourage the Government to act. Much that the honourable member has said must be agreed with . . .,” Symmonds added.
Arthur, who once led the BLP for 14 years, said his resignation stemmed from his belief that the BLP had not only lost its way, but its soul as well.
It came against the backdrop of a difference of opinion with Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley on the Municipal Solid Waste Tax.