“I do not hate the Democratic Labour Party.”
This is the response of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur to critics who say he should not even contemplate lending a helping hand to the Freundel Stuart-led governing party at this time.
However, quoting from Irish Poet William Yeats, Arthur today said: “I know that I shall meet my fate somewhere in the skies above.
“Those that I fight I do not hate. Those that I guard I do not love.”
In the same vein, he rejected suggestions that any attempts by him to help the DLP were really his way of destroying the Mia Mottley-led Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
However, Arthur said while it may well be true that he no longer loves the BLP for the simple reason that “they have done a lot of unfair, unfortunate and hurtful things to me”, he was not currently motivated by hate.
Still, he continues to lick his open wounds following his bitter 2014 split from the BLP, saying it still pains him every time he recalls the effort that was made to expel him from the party he led for nearly two decades.
“I left them psychologically, because they never would have done that to [founding father] Grantley Adams nor to Bernard St John, nor to Henry Forde nor to Tom Adams. But Mia Mottley sat in a chair and heard people read out charges against me to expel me from the party.
“And what about? Because I would not fall in line behind Mia Mottley,” Arthur revealed, while suggesting that if anyone had to be expelled at that time it should have been Mottley for not supporting her own party’s position on the Barbados Revenue Authority.
“She was a member of the Cabinet that agreed with the Revenue Authority and when it came to the House, the same one that we proposed, she opposed it. I said that having been the author of this I can’t now disown a child and then I gathered that I was to be expelled from the party,” the former BLP leader further revealed.
He also lamented that the BLP had prepared a booklet in 2014 under Mottley’s leadership which Arthur said indicated that he was never a leader of the Barbados Labour Party.
“They have done a lot of unfair, unfortunate and hurtful things to me,” he stressed.
However, the independent Member of Parliament for St Peter said he continued to help his BLP colleagues in whatever way he could, especially on the eve of the Estimates debate, which he said has always been “the biggest debate of the year” for the BLP.
“Under Tom Adams, under Henry Forde, under Bernard St John, we would gather in and consult between the Wednesday and the Saturday morning and then on the weekend we would bring eveyryone together and discuss and prepare ourselves for the Estimates,” Arthur, said, while openly criticizing Mottley’s decision to stage a ‘march of disgust’ on the weekend that is traditionally used in preparation for the Estimates.
“I can’t tell them what to do, but I know what we used to do when the Labour Party was a serious Labour Party,” he said, insisting that he remains open to rendering his advice to the BLP.
He suggested that Mottley was the one who had a problem with him, while revealing that last year she had intervened to stop him from helping members of the party to prepare for the annual financial exercise.
“I’m tired of suffering in silence behind the scenes for foolishness. The Labour Party people know that if they ask for my advice, I would give them my advice. I did it last year. There are at least four members of the Labour Party who went to my house last year and spent the evening before the Estimates at my home, in my study being prepared to participate in the Estimates debate.
“There were a few others who were supposed to come who were told [by Mottley] that they could not come. This year again I am supposed to be doing that. So Chris has asked me for help and I am helping him; the Labour Party people have asked me for help and I am helping them and yet I am trying to destroy the Barbados Labour Party. I’m tired of it. I really, really am tired of it,” stressed Arthur, who said he was concerned about Mottley’s ideas for bringing about growth through disruptive change, based on the advice of Professor Avinash Persaud.