Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur said today there was only one gift he would love to purchase outspoken Government minister Donville Inniss for Christmas, and that is a political ‘gag’.
At the same time the Member of Parliament for St Peter has taken umbrage at what he said was nothing short of “a crude onslaught” delivered by his former Cabinet minister Elizabeth Liz Thompson against his wife and daughters.
“It really was crude and there really has been no reaction of decency from the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) from people who ought to be telling Liz Thompson that that is not the way,” Arthur told Barbados TODAY, in response to statements made by Thompson in an address to the party’s 79th annual conference last month, which he said were simply unforgiveable.
In fact, in light of that speech, which he said should have been roundly condemned by the BLP’s hierarchy, Arthur said “it will be very difficult for me to ever again support the Barbados Labour Party”.
However, he also made it clear that this was not an indication that he was now “a Dem”, following Inniss’ declaration at the ruling Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) political meeting in St Peter on Sunday night that the former BLP leader and current independent Member of Parliament for the northern constituency, has had a recent change of heart and had switched his allegiance to the ruling DLP, turning his back on the BLP’s Colin Jordan, who he previously described as his political protégé.
Addressing party supporters gathered at The Alexandra School in the heart of Arthur’s constituency, which the former BLP leader has been representing for the past three decades, Inniss went further to suggest that Arthur was rooting for the DLP candidate Dave Cumberbatch.
“Let me tell you something Dave, you are being fully endorsed by Owen Seymour Arthur,” Inniss assured Cumberbatch after he had delivered his maiden speech as the ruling party’s St Peter candidate.
And while referring to Jordan disparagingly as ‘Colin Arthur’, the Member of Parliament for St James South said: “Owen Arthur [and] Colin Arthur [were] all good Dems today.”
Inniss also assured that there was no repairing the damage done to the relationship between Arthur and the Mia Mottley-led BLP following Arthur’s resignation from the Opposition party back in 2014.
“It has been a hard and long journey for him to have walked away from a political party that he so ably led for such a long time, because he realized the riff-raff and scallywags and hooligans that occupy the halls of the Barbados Labour Party, and have nothing to do with them. And that is why he cannot, and will not, support Colin Arthur, Colin Jordan,” Inniss said, feigning an error.
However, when contacted this afternoon, Arthur was simply taken aback by Inniss’ comments, suggesting it was high time for him to be muzzled.
“In 34 years in public life I have never had any difficulty speaking in my own name, on my own behalf, and I can’t imagine how at the end of my political career, I could now want somebody to be speaking for me and on my behalf,” he told Barbados TODAY, making it clear he did not need Inniss to deliver any message on his behalf.
Arthur suggested that “perhaps it is a St James South thing . . . because . . . he seems to be as erratic as the former Member of Parliament for St James South Elizabeth Thompson.
“They are just spouting foolishness all over the place. I have sent Donville Inniss with no message and I’m a little disappointed that a man who would want to get my support and my vote in the next election could be playing so fast and loose with things concerning me,” said Arthur, who resides in Inniss’ constituency.
“Surely, if he intends to court me that would be the wrong way to do it,” he said, stressing he had “nothing to do with erratic people”.
Calling it “froth and folly”, he said, “It is obviously a St James South thing to just shout off at the mouth and just talk a lot of foolishness. Liz exemplified it and now Donville appears to have caught the same [political virus],” he told Barbados TODAY, adding that “for me to have to respond to folly like this when there are so many other important things that ought to be centre, it just disgusts me”.
While stressing that “Donville has to act way better than this”, and that it was not ordinary for constituents to give members of parliament gifts, Arthur said: “I think that for Christmas I might have to consider finding a suitable present for Donville, and it would be a gag . . . and I think it will make him a better politician.
“I am an independent person and I am not involved in any political party,” the St Peter representative maintained.
The former prime minister, who was recently sidelined with a foot injury, also reported that it was his first day back at the office.
“I’m anxious to get back to my work. I don’t want to be drawn into the froth and folly,” he told Barbados TODAY.
At a time when Barbados was “going down rapidly with some very serious economic issues to confront”, he complained that the island’s politics had descended to the level of “people living in houses that they do not have and who is qualified in what . . . and you would think that the country doesn’t have a serious crisis that is facing it and . . . I don’t want to be drawn into that foolishness at my age.”