Kingston – Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness Monday described the former Barbados prime minister Owen Arthur as a person who “was passionate about his country” as he joined other regional leaders in expressing condolences to Arthur’s family.
Arthur, Barbados longest-serving prime minister, died earlier on Monday from heart-related complications. He was 70.
“Today I pause to pay my respects to a man who served Barbados and the Caribbean with distinction, former Prime Minister of Barbados, Owen Seymour Arthur. I am truly saddened by his passing,” Holness said in a message on his Twitter page.
He said Arthur, an economist, was “passionate about his country and the dream of regional integration”.
“In the 1990s and early 2000s, he helped to shape the political scene in the region. I extend sincere condolences to the family of Owen Arthur and the people of Barbados,” Holness wrote.
St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet extended “deepest condolences to Barbados” on the death of Arthur.
“Our heart goes out to his wife and daughters and all his family and friends and to the government and people of Barbados,” he added.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, Irwin LaRocque said the entire Caribbean Community mourns the passing of an “ardent regionalist” in Arthur.
Arthur’s last regional public outing was to lead a Commonwealth Observer team to the March 2 regional and general elections in Guyana and, in a statement, the main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) said it was “deeply saddened” by his death.
“Our region has lost an eminent elder Statesman and a champion for equal rights and democracy,” the PPP/C said, adding that “Guyanese will forever remember Arthur’s defense of their right to choose their leaders democratically”.
“The PPP joins the people of Guyana, Barbados, and the wider world in extending our sincerest condolences to Owen Arthur’s wife Julie, daughters Sabrina and Leah, and extended family.”
The Department of Public Information (DPI) in Guyana, carried a brief story from the state-owned Guyana Chronicle newspaper on the death, reminding that he was head of the Commonwealth observer delegation to the disputed elections. (CMC)