SO, WITH the February 21 decision by the Barbadian electorate to stick with the tradition of giving an incumbent party a second chance – much to the understandable relief of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and his DLP – former three-term prime minister Owen Arthur is now preparing to spend quality time writing his memoirs.
As a journalist of our Caribbean region, who has the opportunities to often deal with government and opposition leaders, I hope that Mr Arthur keeps his promise to share with us his reflections on "my wonderful life in politics", as he recently told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
As a respected regional technocrat, before his active involvement in parliamentary politics, initially under the influence of the now late Prime Minister and BLP leader, Tom Adams, Arthur – an economist by profession – has much of substance to address on the strengths and weaknesses of Caricom, as the chosen vehicle for attaining the much trumpeted and still elusive goal of a seamless regional economy.
Warts and all, he had played a pivotal role in steering "SS CARICOM' through some rough waters as the Prime Minister with lead responsibility among his Community colleagues for the CSME.
His initiatives, some of which fell by the wayside, are on record for critical assessment in new efforts to move away from a current "pause" mode and stimulate hope for "a better tomorrow" in economic integration and functional cooperation.
Arthur is also well-placed to inform us about the good, bad and ugly of party politics in multi-party governance, including the bitter internecine strife that often afflict major parliamentary parties across our region – as we have evidenced also in Barbados with changing governments and party leadership.
It's quite fascinating to know, as Arthur was fond of publicly reminding Barbadians – in and out of government – that philosophically, he was "a Barrow democrat", even while passionately denouncing policies and programmes of the DLP under changing post-Errol Barrow leadership.
Regrettably, the late 'Dipper' Barrow, one of the great political leaders of this region, indeed a Caribbean statesman who bequeathed a legacy in personal integrity and fairness in democratic governance, did not find the time to write his memoirs.
Or, for that matter, provide us with any written work approximating the thoughtful and revealing offerings of leaders of his time like Dr Eric Williams, Dr Cheddi Jagan and Michael Manley.
No, except for what others have written about him, the endearing 'Dipper' did not even bother to have at least relevant collection of published texts of speeches as offered, for example, by former prime ministers PJ Patterson and Sir James Mitchell.
Thanks, however, to a late journalist colleague, Yussuff Haniff, there remains a fine collection of "Speeches by Errol Barrow", in addition to "The Life and Times of Errol Barrow" offered by the now late Peter Morgan. In Haniff's published collection can be found some of the most informative perspectives by Barrow on politics, culture, law, governance and, of course what had absorbed so much of his passion-"building of our regional community" that is Caricom.
One such memorable public address was that of 1986 when he spoke on "Caribbean Integration: The Reality and the Goal" at a Caricom summit in Guyana.
Owen Arthur had not yet wet his fee in regional governance politics.
We await his promised memoirs on his "wonderful life in politics".
Currently, Arthur now sits in parliament next to the tough Barbadian woman politician, Mia Mottley, who heads the BLP (he having declined to contest the post-election position).
Mottley, a former deputy prime minister and attorney general, now leads the Opposition while Prime Minister Stuart governs with just a two-seat majority in the 30-member House of Assembly.