News Americas, BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS, Mon, July 27, 2020: Former Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur, who was most recently an observer to the controversial Guyana elections for the Commonwealth, has passed away at the age of 70, a Government statement confirmed.
Arthur, the island’s longest serving Prime Minister, died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at 12:26 a.m., the BIS statement said. He was hospitalised last week with heart complications.
In June, he said Guyana has a “prosperous future” ahead but this is solely dependent on Guyana adhering to good governance practices. He also stressed then just last month that the country cannot benefit from having itself portrayed as a “pariah state.”
Arthur was Prime Minister of Barbados from 6 September 1994 to 20 January 1999; 20 January 1999 to 21 May 2003; and from 21 May 2003 to 15 January 2008. He was Leader of the Opposition in Barbados from 1 August 1993 to 6 September 1994; and from 23 October 2010 to 21 February 2013 and led the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to victory in the 1994 general election and won general elections again in 1999 and 2003.
In the 2008 general election, his party was defeated by the Democratic Labour Party and its leader David Thompson. Arthur stepped down as party leader, but remained the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Saint Peter. He subsequently returned to lead the BLP in 2010, but he was replaced as party leader after the BLP lost the 2013 general election. He kept a low public profile and retired from public life after he left Barbadian Politics in 2018.
Arthur was an alumnus of The Coleridge and Parry Boys’ School and then later Harrison College (Barbados) as well as the University of the West Indies – Cave Hill, Barbados and Mona, Jamaica, where he earned a BA degree in Economics and History (1971) and an MSc degree in Economics (1974). After graduating he held positions with Jamaica’s National Planning Agency and the Jamaica Bauxite Institute before returning to Barbados and joining the Ministry of Finance and Planning in 1981. From 1994 to 2008, he was the leader of the Barbados Labour Party. In September 1994 the Labour Party won the general elections which made him Prime Minister. He won general elections again in January 1999 and 2003.
The statement said that Minister of Labour and Social Relations and St Peter MP Colin Jordan, will be the coordinating minister for the funeral arrangements.“ The Government of Barbados also extended sincerest condolences to his wife, Julie, his daughters, Leah and Sabrina and his extended family.
Arthur was a recipient of the Order of José Marti of Cuba.