The record and the evidence clearly shows Owen Arthur ranks among the best Prime Ministers to lead Barbados.
This was the conclusion of former Democratic Labour Party (DLP) leader Dr. Clyde Mascoll, who later switched ranks and joined the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) during late Prime Minister Arthur’s “politics of inclusion” campaign.
Paying tribute to Arthur who passed away early Monday morning at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital following a brief period of illness, Mascoll, now a senior economic advisor to Prime Minister Mia Mottley, said the proof was there that Arthur was a successful politician and economist.
“Owen was an outstanding politician and economist. He had a first class understanding of the intricacies of managing a small open economy. Certainly, he developed the art of self-defence. He really saw attack as the best means of defence and in that sense he became a formidable political opponent,” Mascoll said during VOB 92.9 FM’s Down to Brass Tacks.
“This man who loved words, who had wit; he told me he had to work on developing his wit which is a fundamental strength as a politician – the ability to use words and twist words but he was so good at it that it eventually became a part of his problem. . . . but it was a strength,” the economist stated.
According to the former St Michael North West MP: “[Arthur] also once told me that if he had to [return] to Prime Ministership he would use three criteria – love, trust and respect.
“What was fundamental about that is that he didn’t include competence which I thought was strange but I suspected that he expected that once ascended to such heights that you would have had the competence to get the job done. . . . Here you had a man who was Prime Minister seeking to evaluate his post and demonstrating that there are some other characteristics beyond your capacity to understand economics. The criteria were far softer in terms of what we would expect of this hard-nosed politician. The whole question of being loved by people, respected by the people and having the love of the people,” he added.
Asked to identify the turning point in his relationship with Arthur, after being one of his staunchest critics, Mascoll said: “There was no turning point. There is something called respect which he said is important in evaluating anyone.”
He added: “Notwithstanding all the talk that you hear on the political platforms, the Members of Parliament, especially the older members would come to you and you recognise that governance is a continuum. And therefore they are looking for some sense to see notwithstanding that you are in opposition, if there is anyone on the other side who can carry on and conduct the affairs of this country. . . . So that turning point had nothing to do with any lack of respect, it had to do with a position that I took as a politician in switching to the other side.”
Read our ePaper. Fast. Factual. Free.
Sign up and stay up to date with Barbados' FREE latest news.