CADRES poll of Barbados – Freundel last at last? Owen Arthur & Mia Mottley: A Great Combination
The Sunday Sun of 20 May 2012 published a chart showing the findings of a recent poll, on the question of ‘the preferred choice for Prime Minister,’ which allows for fascinating interpretation.
Former three-term Prime Minister and present Opposition Leader Owen Arthur was at 29.8%; Mia Mottley is right there at an impressive 25.5%; Christopher Sinckler some distance behind at 19.9% and Stuart at the bottom of the pile at (what for him) must be a disappointing 9.9%.
It would seem that this poll was conducted at a time when thousands are losing their jobs; businesses are closing, the cost of living is rising, money is hard to come by and things in the country are extremely tough.
If under these conditions, Sinckler is somehow, as popular as the poll says he is, then it would suggest that Barbadians see the DLP as being responsible for their pain, but not Sinckler, even though he is the Minister of Finance. The only way to logically explain that would be if Sinckler is either “times more popular than the entire DLP of which he is a member” or if he is somehow able to distance himself from the pain, which Barbadians feel the same DLP is causing them.
As would be expected, Stuart seems only able to move from 6.0% to a mere 9.9%.
It is unprecedented for a person holding the office of Prime Minister to be at the bottom of the pile and that could only be consistent with the thinking of the country that Stuart is not what they are looking for as a national leader and while Sinckler may not be either, perhaps Sinckler’s mannerism most remind them of David Thompson.
Now as the Leader of the Opposition, Owen Arthur is at 29.8% but was 22% before he assumed the office. Arthur is the only economist among the four and Barbados is in a serious recession. His numbers is consistent with the fact that it is about leadership as much as it is about the economy. But, as a three-term Prime Minister, some may feel that Arthur’s numbers should really be much higher, especially with him having said that there is a clamour for him.
It is also interesting that these days, when Owen Arthur speaks, you have to look to see who is talking. In recent times, all of his public speeches have been consistent with the one given by Mia Mottley on 29th September 2010 at the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI). And while he can talk about a new development model for Barbados, after 14 years as Prime Minister, it would be impossible for him to now talk about: “A new political era for Barbados.” This is why the Arthur/Mottley combination is a potent one.
What is also interesting about the poll diagram in the Sunday Sun, was the absence of names like Dale Marshall, who since 2008 – is the Deputy Leader of the BLP and George Payne, who has been its Chairman. But Owen Arthur really did not need this poll to tell him that it would be impossible for him and the BLP to win the up-coming general election without Mia Mottley. Mia Mottley is therefore far more powerful than the poll says she is.
Based on the poll data, if there was no Owen Arthur, Mia Mottley would be the undisputed leader of the BLP. However, the Owen Arthur/Mia Mottley combination is a winning one and it would not be surprising if Mia Mottley is now asked to present the up-coming budget reply, on behalf of the BLP.