BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur has resigned as a member of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), but will continue to serve the remainder of his parliamentary term as an independent representative for the constituency of St. Peter.
Arthur was quoted in sections of the local media as saying he was fed up with being seen as “a source of discord” within the BLP, due to an often tenuous relationship with party leader Mia Mottley.
The news of Arthur’s resignation comes just a day after the party staged a massive march in Bridgetown against a controversial Municipal Solid Waste Tax – and by extension, the current government’s prevailing economic policies.
Arthur has gone on record as being opposed to Mottley’s position on the repeal of the Municipal Solid Waste Tax, citing that he himself had introduced an environmental levy when he first took the reins of Government in 1994. Arthur contends that the reasons for such a revenue-raising mechanism remain valid as a means to finance sustainable development in Barbados, and that he could not support the abolition of such a tax in principle. He further indicated his dissatisfaction with Mottley’s proposed tax alternatives.
Speaking more broadly to local media about the state of the Barbados economy, Arthur referred to the island’s debt burden as a “$1.8 billion dollar problem” which now had no painless solutions. He further contended that an IMF package should be the last thing Barbados should want to do, saying that it will be far more painful than current taxation measures.