Stuart: Arthur used powerful intellect to serve
The following is a tribute by former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart given at the passing of former Prime Minister The Right Honourable Owen Arthur.
“I received with sorrow and regret the news of the passing of former Prime Minister The Right Honourable Owen Arthur.
“His passing has come at a time when he was still active in public service because he thought he still had much to give to Barbados and the region.
“His political career was always spiced at critical points with dainty pieces of drama, whether it was in having the first St Peter by-election in 1984, which he lost by one vote, invalidated by the court and fought over, thereby ensuring him an emphatic election to Parliament or, in being the leader of the parliamentary opposition in 1994 when the historic no-confidence motion brought an end to the Democratic Labour Party Government of Erskine Sandiford or, more recently, as in the year 2010 when he experienced momentarily the resurrection as Opposition Leader when the group replaced the then leader in his favour.
“Whatever role he was performing as a polititican, he brought the full resources of a powerful intellect to bear on that role.
“As Prime Minister and Minister of Finance he presided over the destiny of Barbados with level-headedness and resolve.
“Never one to be doctrinaire in his approach to policy when the country faced the potentially destabilising fallout from the 911 tragedy in 2001, he abandoned economic orthodoxy and focused on ensuring the welfare of the country and its citizens. “Mr Arthur was an unrepentant regionalist and believed fervently in possibilities of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy. He championed his cause with vigour, with clarity and with determination. He was, in fact, one of the architects and a spirit-filled evangelist of the Revised Treaty Of Chaguaramas.
“He enjoyed political combat and gave as good as he got in those joustings which are a defining feature of Westminster-style parliamentary politics.
“He served Barbados and the people of St Peter well. He never allowed himself to forget, in fact, the debt of gratitude which he owed to the people of St Peter for making his vast and varied opportunities possible.
“He has done the state some service and we know it. Like all prime ministers he embodied our hopes, our dreams, our aspirations. Like all prime ministers he bore our grievances, our disgruntlements and our disappointments. He never wavered. He carries to his final rest, therefore, the gratitude of the nation he led and loved.
“To his beloved wife and his daughters and to all those countless others who were gladdened by his life and who are now saddened by his death, I should like on behalf of my own family and myself to extend heartfelt condolences. May he rest in peace.” (PR)