Former Prime Minister of Barbados Owen Arthur met today with the Opposition lawmakers in the House and Senate to advise them on the issues surrounding the Appropriation Bill as they prepare for Wednesday’s Budget Speech.
But while repeatedly stressing that he is not planning to join the Opposition, the man Arthur once led in his Labour Party government from 1994 to 2008, Bishop Joseph Atherley, announced that he would soon disclose plans to form a new party.
Arthur met with Opposition Leader Joseph Atherley and his team in Parliament’s Conference Room on Thursday to assist with the Atherley’s reply preparations.
Arthur told Barbados TODAY: “I have retired from politics. I am not going to join a political party, but this young man was a minister of state when I was Prime Minister of Barbados. He is a person with whom I am well pleased and as he has asked me to help him with economic advice, I am very happy to do so.”
The former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance suggested that for the first time the Budget debate will focus on a fiscal policy which was given to Barbados and not Barbados’ own economic policy.
He said: “The fiscal policy is the Government that is running at three per cent primary surplus must run at six per cent primary surplus next year, and it has to do things to realise that surplus already stated in the IMF document.”
Atherley told Barbados TODAY the Opposition was pleased to have Arthur share his expertise freely with them.
Atherley said: “Prime Minister Arthur has had the confidence of the Barbadian community over the last 25 years on matters of economics and finance. The Prime Minister – the Minister of Finance and the whole Ministry benefit from a whole core of consultants that are very highly paid. I don’t have any money to pay Mr Arthur but I am glad that he is willing to come and offer his experience, expertise and vast knowledge.”
Atherley told Barbados TODAY with the economy in a slump the advice from Arthur was critical.
He continued: “Barbados is at the crossroads with the economy in such doldrums as they are. You want to tell me that I should not grasp with both hands any help that is offered by him to us? The group is delighted to have him on board as an advisor in this capacity with respect to economic and financial matters as we face this dark era, ain’t no two ways about that and we are unapologetic about that.”
And Atherley declared that he intends to reveal full details about forming a new political party once the Estimates debates are completed.
The Opposition Leader said: “I have stated quite definitely that very shortly I shall be announcing the formation of a new political party in Barbados and it is not in the realm of rumour anymore as I have said that now for several weeks and as we get over the estimates we will look into those matters.”