Honourable Owen Arthur was the longest serving Prime Minister of Barbados and worked in that capacity from 1994 to 2008. He was a capable and immensely respected leader who served Barbados and the Caribbean region with great distinction.
His commitment to regional development led him to serve the region (and that he did most graciously) in various capacities, including the lead Prime Minister with responsibility for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) in the CARICOM Quasi-Cabinet.
Throughout his stewardship of Barbados, he provided selfless counsel and support to Caribbean countries experiencing economic hardship.
OECS Director General, Dr. Didacus Jules, reflected on the contributions of the honourable former Prime Minister as an economist, regionalist and integrationist.
"With great respect, I remember the initiative taken by Hon. Owen Arthur to explore the possibility of Barbados’ membership to the OECS."
"Hon. Arthur was familiar with Sir Arthur Lewis’ economic theories and the agony of the ‘Little Eight’. He recognised the importance of integration among the smaller islands post the breakup of the federation and valued the close functional ties that Barbados holds with its sister islands in the Eastern Caribbean."
Today, Barbados has lost a son and an outstanding figure, and the region has lost a supporter of regional integration; one who advocated for the acceleration of that process in the Caribbean.
The Commission stands firmly with the people of Barbados, in mourning the loss of their former leader Hon. Owen Arthur and extends sincerest condolences to his wife, children and extended family and to the Government and people of Barbados.
Flags at the OECS Commission are being flown at half-mast in honour of Hon. Owen Arthur's passing.
May He Rest in Peace.