Political scientist Dr George Belle has ridiculed the thought of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur joining Government’s economics team, falling just short of saying such a move would be a total waste of time.
Belle reacted with incredulity to a report in Barbados TODAY that Arthur had been asked to replace former university lecturer in economics Sir Frank Alleyne as Chairman of the Freundel Stuart administration’s advisory council on economic affairs.
He suggested that with the economy in a shambles, not even Arthur could save the administration at this late stage; and he stressed that Stuart needed to return to the polls.
“The Government’s policies have failed and they are continuing to fail. The way to resolve the situation where the Government has already a weak majority and where its policies are totally inadequate, then the best thing for the Government to do is to return to the electorate to try to see if it can get a strong mandate from the people of Barbados,” Belle said.
He repeated several times that the administration needed political advice, not someone to teach it how to run the economy and that any suggestions that the Member of Parliament for St Peter offered would simply “compound failure”.
“I am not saying what they want to do, I am saying that is the political advice anyone including Arthur should be giving to the Freundel Stuart administration,” Belle said of his recommendation that only an election would do. “There is no need for Arthur to be giving the Government any economic advice at this time. Economic advice to do what? To compound failure?”
In yesterday’s edition of Barbados TODAY, Arthur confirmed that an approach had indeed been made to him to take over as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors.
“I have been approached, but as far as I am aware, there has not been any formal decision of the Government on the matter,” he said.
However, the independent parliamentarian made it clear he was not about to cross the floor and join the Democratic Labour Party Government even though he acknowledged that his role of economic advisor would require him to work closely with the administration.
He further confirmed that he had also been approached earlier by Senator Darcy Boyce to work with Government on the Caribbean Commission on the Economy.
Arthur had rejected an earlier suggestion made by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley for him to form part of “an eminent persons group” on the economy.
If Arthur accepts the appointment, it will come at a time when Governor of the Central Bank Dr Delisle Worrell has announced in his third quarterly report that the economy was performing well below one per cent growth annually.