Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has used the opening of a campaign office for his party’s candidate in St Peter to heap praise on former Prime Minister Owen Arthur.
Stuart, who had thanked Arthur for his three decades of public service after the former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) leader had made his final contribution in Parliament last month, took the opportunity on Sunday night to take a shot at the BLP, which he said had not shown appreciation for what Arthur had done for the party and its members.
He also said while he and the outgoing representative for St Peter had their differences, he could not deny Arthur’s “outstanding” service to the constituency and the country.
“I am saying thanks to him for all that he has done for Barbados. We have fought battles . . . . Philosophically, we were poles apart on certain issues. We fought him on this issue of Barbados not being just an economy but also a society . . . . At the end of his career he admitted that we were right,” the Prime Minister told the launch campaign office for Dave Chief Cumberbatch at Mile And A Quarter.
He stressed that the former leader had given the country his all, and “we thank him for what he had done, not only as Member of Parliament for St Peter, but as Prime Minister of Barbados”.
Stuart contended that the Democratic Labour Party never had to worry when Arthur, as Prime Minister, went to represent Barbados abroad.
“He served the country well. He [has] done the country some service and we all know it
. . . and we say thanks to him, and we wish him a healthy and happy and satisfying and fulfilling career,” he stressed.
When Arthur delivered his farewell speech not a single member of the BLP was present to pay tribute.
This did not escape Stuart, or Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, who had also thanked the former Barbadian leader at the very session of Parliament.
He repeated those sentiments at Sunday’s political meeting in St Peter, which Stuart said the DLP was going all out to wrest from the BLP.
“I want to publicly say thanks to him. He was . . . a former Minister of Finance. He has that special designation of knowing the intricacies, the proclivities, the difficulties associated with running such a complex ministry in an island as small as Barbados, an island with very limited resources, very few natural resources that we can exploit like some other parts of the world,” Sinckler said.
“As current Minister of Finance, it would be remiss of me not to recognize whatever service he would have given to Barbados. We, of course, have had our fights and issues with him and we in the Democratic Labour Party who stand in many ways at philosophical opposites with him on a number of issues . . . still have to be magnanimous enough, unlike his previous parliamentary colleagues, we have to be magnanimous enough to recognize him for his service,” he added.