Is Owen Arthur healthy enough to be Prime Minister?

Last minute cancellation of public appearance sparks more health talk

Owen Arthur’s last minute cancellation of a weekend speaking engagement in Dominica has the rumour mill working overtime. The official reason for the cancellation as provided by the Dominica Labour Party is that Arthur “cancelled at the last minute for personal reasons.”

Some speculate that Arthur bowed out because Dominica’s Democratic Freedom Party put pressure on him, but many don’t buy that because it’s not like Arthur to misjudge the politics that badly – and it’s not like Arthur to let himself be pushed around and embarrassed. No Sir. The Owen Arthur we know would not be deterred by the DFP objection and would probably view it as a challenge to be met head-on. It’s not like Arthur to agree to a speaking engagement without considering the politics, and once committed it is not like Owen Arthur to then run from a public appearance because somebody objects.

Missing in action: the Owen Arthur spark!

For most observers, once you put aside a political causes for Arthur cancelling, the immediate thought is his health.

It is true that Arthur hasn’t been looking well at all in the last year. He seems dramatically smaller, slower and older – and this happened in a relatively short period of time. He stoops and sometime walks with a cane when only two years ago he would rocket up steps two at a time – drunk or sober. Now he shuffles about without the spark that defined his personality and physical appearances in public for three decades. You’ll have a difficult time finding a recent photo of the Opposition leader, because for some reason the local media prefers to use file photos from two years ago.

The physical also impacts one’s outlook on life and capacity for work: and Arthur has been missing in action more often than not at Parliament and party functions. His total failure to lead the BLP charge during the recent Employment Rights Bill is an indication that something is seriously wrong either with Owen Arthur’s political judgment or his health.

Once again, he’s just not the Owen Arthur that we know, or thought we knew. What happened? Could it be…

Hard Drinking taking its toll?

It’s no secret that former Prime Minister Arthur is no tea-totaller. His hard-drinking exploits and colourful speeches while imbibing are the stuff of legend. He jokes about it himself in the video above. As Prime Minister, Arthur could always count on the CBC, The Nation or the Barbados Advocate to purge the worst of his slurred interviews and speeches, but lately some of the Arthur comedy routines have been making it to YouTube. The internet can be a dangerous place for any politician who decides he’s okay to speak with half a bottle of ESAF rum in his belly.

Humour aside, two decades of hard drinking can take a toll on anybody with liver damage, kidney failure and heart trouble. As Cardiologist Dr. Alfred Sparman always cautions his patients “Alcohol goes right to the heart.”

Could the physical changes and lack of work capacity we see in Owen Arthur be a result of years of hard-drinking? Maybe, or maybe not. Only Arthur and his doctors know for sure, but the voters should be told.

The health of a Prime Minister or prospective Prime Minister is of vital public interest. Voters have a right to know whether the man or woman they elect to lead the country for the next five years has the physical strength and health to go the distance. May God bless our former PM David Thompson and his family – but you know that Barbados was without a Prime Minister for a year and a half while his health failed.

And after David passed on, we ended up with an accidental Prime Minister who, according to the recent poll, would be the last choice of average Bajans if an election was held today.

Would Bajans have voted for the DLP and Thompson had they known about his health issues? I don’t know how it would have impacted the vote, but I do know that there is some suspicion about Owen Arthur’s health, and that he and the BLP should be forthright with voters about this important issue.


Filed under Barbados, Politics

12 responses to “Is Owen Arthur healthy enough to be Prime Minister?

  1. Scrupie

    Sick jokes do not cut it. Hall win nah backsides. Shelf life for new products gone quick so. Tek for instance 2 DRs LOwe, EAstwick, some CArrington, you tink that sickness pass Dem By. WUlooss THe LOrd giveth and taketh away. P ut Dat in wun nah pipes and smoke it.

  2. 189

    If you are alive your are healthy enough. He Also alive to go jail. All the shit Owen did in office will eat his ass up,Maybe if he gets back he will die faster.Then another crook will take his place ,,

  3. Anonymous

    22 to 8 is d result

  4. Just want to know

    wasn’t David Thompson presumed healthy when he became P.M. where is he now? How many times the present P.M. fainted at a function? So if wunna don’t have anything good to print, just shut up. What about all the sick and missing M .P on the DLP side, some of them are heavy whisky drinkers, so leave the –it out of this. Owen Seymour Arthur will be our next P M like it or lump it, that phrase was used by a DLP PM.

  5. Pingback: Dominica PM talks about Owen Arthur’s no show at DLP conference | Barbados Free Press

  6. 250

    BLP shud put out Owen and install Mia.
    DLP shud put out frun and install a younger more personable man/woman.
    Oldphartes en saying much,now. Dem time done pass.

  7. Sunshine Sunny Shine

    Geeee u people doan mek sport wid wunna words i see.

  8. Fedup Bajan

    I see that the DLP is loosing again so they start to vilify owen again. What about thiefing DAvid Thompson who help Parris to thief our nest eggs from Clico. His remains should be move to Dodds. I want to hear the current MP for St. John on this cause she might be spending some of my clico dollars

  9. Bajan 101

    The health condition of a politician is a personal matter. He/she and their doctors and family should make a decision. You cannot tell the health of a person just by looking at them.

    I will vote for the DLP, not because of Owen’s health but because I honestly do believe that under the circumstances they have done well to keep this economy and society together. They have been very caring and understanding. Things are rough – my utilities went up; one child is unemployed and wife wages reduced a bit. However angry I became, I realized that it was not the making of this Government of teh DLP.

    Sure there is more that we can be done especially in response times and efficiency of Govt departments.

    I analyze (not just listen) to the Bees and their apologists and get truly turned off. Hardly a good idea comes forth from the BLP. I hear all criticisms but no alternative solutions that work. So Bajans might just reelect the Bees and then spend the next five years listening to the Bees blame the Dees for their failure to get things right.

    I rather a quiet Freundel than a healthy Owen Arthur.

    As for Mia Mottley, she speaks well, she sounds sharp, but when you quietly reflect, she is shallow. Also, what can this island best remember her for during the 15 years in office.

    I look at the candidates of the Bees and cannot compare them to the hardworking, competent bunch like Inniss, Sinckler, lashley and Lashley, etc. They are the ones Owen Arthur called riff raffs and goons! wonder what he would call his new bunch?

  10. 246

    If bajans are so foolish to put back the BLP in office….may God Have mercy on our souls, if they leave us with one…

  11. 189

    Off with their heads, let them eat cake

  12. Mark Fenty

    When I resided in Barbados many years ago, I honestly felt that the (DLP) truly represented the interest of the poor –classes, of which I categorical, and unequivocally state my claim. And that the (BLP) was there to advance the interest of the wealthy, upper-classes, of which I repudiated with a visceral latent discontent. But,now that I’m far removed from this reality, but nonetheless still engaging it with the lens of outsiders; I see quite conspicuously, a tribe of silver tongue demagogues, on both side of the political- divide, endeavoring to bamboozle the populace with they political baboonery, and blatant Skullduggery.