BRIDGETOWN: Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is not surprised by former Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s resignation from the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
Arthur handed in his letter of resignation with immediate effect last Friday to the Office of the Opposition BLP, ending 43 years of membership in which he led the party and country as prime minister for 14 years.
Arthur, who led the party to defeat in the 2013 general election but retained his parliamentary seat in the constituency of St. Peter, indicated that he will remain in parliament as an independent member until his term of office comes to an end in 2018.
Arthur was Prime Minister of Barbados from 1994 to 2008, making him the longest serving Barbadian Prime Minister to date. He was also Leader of the Opposition in Barbados from 2010 to 2013.
Stuart, who heads the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), on Friday cited a historical example of a sitting BLP member of parliament – at the time representing what is now Arthur’s constituency of St. Peter – resigning to cross the floor and join the then governing DLP, led by Errol Barrow. Stuart said Arthur is free to follow that example.
“Sooner or later members of parliament get to realize that the Barbados Labour Party is not the place to be,” he said. “If Arthur has now got to the stage of this realization, I am glad for him. I’m glad that he has seen the light, the light was there ever since.”
Opposition Leader, Mia Mottley, lauded Arthur’s commitment to the BLP.
“Owen Arthur served the Barbados Labour Party and Barbados at a critical time before the end of the last century,” she said. “He helped to lay the foundation for the Barbados that is and the Barbados that we are struggling to preserve. These are extraordinary times, and extraordinary times require of us courage and extraordinary action.”