A former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate is suggesting that the Opposition party needs former Prime Minister Owen Arthur now more than ever.
In fact, following Arthur’s decision to quit the party back in 2014, Hudson Griffith believes that the Mia Mottley-led BLP does not stand a chance of winning the next election, constitutionally due by the middle of next year.
“[They are] only fooling themselves into believing that victory at the next general election is inevitable, having severed ties with former Prime Minister Owen Arthur,” said Griffith, in an impassioned address to a United Progressive Party (UPP) meeting in Shorey Village, St Andrew last weekend.
Insisting that he was baffled by his former party’s confidence of winning the next poll, the twice unsuccesful St John candidate argued that Arthur’s controversial departure, which came at the height of his dissatisfaction with Mottley’s leadership style, had left a major void that was yet to be filled.
Arthur, who was elected to the House of Assembly in 1984, served as Prime Minister during one of the more prosperous periods of the country’s economic history from 1994 to 2008.
But Griffith, who recently quit the BLP in less than amicable circumstances and has since pledged his allegiance to the UPP, contended that Arthur was much more than just a good Prime Minister and was responsible for “rescuing the BLP”.
“I can’t see how the Barbados Labour Party is expecting to be returned to Government in 2018. What have they done? They don’t have Owen Arthur, who rescued and rebuilt the BLP in 1994 when they only had three people in Parliament.
“Wunna remember when they get beat to three blind mice? It was Owen Arthur, Henry Forde and David Simmons and it was Arthur who rebuilt the Barbados Labour Party. So I am wondering why the Barbados Labour Party is thinking that they are capable of winning,” Griffith stressed.
He further suggested that the birth of the UPP, who includes several BLP defectors, including leader Lynette Eastmond, was partly as a result of Arthur’s departure.
The former BLP candidate for St John also charged that there were fundamental issues with Mottley’s leadership.
“You feel that the UPP just start for the sake of starting? I never plan for this. Lynette Eastmond never plan to start the UPP,” he told the small gathering of UPP supporters.
Griffith, who has also accused the current BLP hierarchy of “humiliating and betraying” him after turning in the party’s best showing in St John in the 2013 general election, acknowledged that there were still some good people within that party and he suggested that they had a duty to expose the goings on in the BLP if they wished to see the 79-year-old party return to its former glory.
He specifically called on Member of Parliament for St Andrew George Payne, who is also the BLP chairman, to stand up and be counted.
“The MP [Member of Parliament] for St Andrew is a good man, I have nothing against him but he is keeping some secrets in a Pandora’s box. We need to kick down that bloody box and break that lock and let we see what skeletons jump out of the Barbados Labour Party,” said Griffith.