Saturday 15 August, 2020

CARICOM Chairman: Owen Arthur a titan of regional integration

Former Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Owen Arthur.  Source: BGIS Library

Former Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Owen Arthur. Source: BGIS Library

The Caribbean owes an immense debt of gratitude to the late former Prime Minister of Barbados, Owen Seymour Arthur.  

This sentiment was expressed by St Vincent and Grenadines Prime Minister and CARICOM Chairman Dr Ralph Gonsalves.  

Arthur passed away on Monday (July 27).  

He was 70 years old.  

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In his tribute, the Vincentian Prime Minister described Arthur as a titan of regional integration and a most esteemed son of the Caribbean civilisation.  

Gonsalves says: “Owen Arthur was the chief architect, advocacy, and intellectual guide of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).  

He was deeply committed to making our union in the Caribbean more perfect, the best practicable institutional political and economic expression of our Caribbean civilisation.  We owe him an immense debt of gratitude.” 

The CARICOM Chairman notes one month ago to the day, they were together in a Zoom meeting on LIAT.  

Arthur was there as Chairman of LIAT’s Board of Directors, an assignment which Gonsalves said he assumed with much energy, realism and hopefulness. 

Gonsalves says prior to Arthur’s brief hospitalisation, he was deeply agitated about the imminent threat to democracy in Guyana.  

Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves 

He says Arthur reserved some of his finest and most biting barbs against those in that CARICOM member-state who, without right reason or principle, verbally abused Mia Mottley and himself because of their stance in defense of free and fair elections. 

A true Caribbean man is how Arthur will be remembered.  

Gonsalves says: “He loved our Caribbean and its manifestations in cricket, dominoes, food, music, literature, poetry, and joyous living. He loved our people and strove to make their lives better. He came from humble beginnings and retained the humility and unfussiness of the folk from whom he sprung. He was a devoted family man.”  

The CARICOM Chairman adds: “Owen has gone to meet his glorious ancestors. He was among the best of our generation. I feel certain that our mutual friend, Patrick Manning former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago will greet him in Beulah land. May he rest in peace.” 

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