Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins. (Picture by Lennox Devonish)
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Senator Lisa Cummins paid tribute to former Prime Minister Owen Arthur when she arrived for her first day as Minister of Tourism and International Transport.
Cummins said she was among those who was mentored by Arthur.
She said it was a day of refreshing and renewal, but it was also a day of mourning.
Arthur passed away early this morning at age 70.
“I would like to express my own condolences to the family and friends of the Rt Hon. Owen Arthur.
“Owen was a mentor, he was a friend. He was my Prime Minister when I was a young foreign service officer,” she said from the Ministry at One Barbados Place in Warrens, St Michael.
“Just two weeks ago at the launch of Primo (restaurant), I had the privilege of sitting and chatting in the usual form with the former PM Arthur. We talked just about everything. We talked about Guyana; we talked about CARICOM; we talked about development in Jamaica because he knew we both shared a love for Jamaica.
“Today is a very difficult day for many of us who were close to Owen Arthur. We have not always agreed but we have always respected him as a leader, as our former Prime Minister, as a mentor and as a friend.”
Cummins said it was correct to say he had “passed the baton”, not just to Prime Minister Mia Mottley, “but to a generation of young policy-makers whom he mentored for many, many years”.
“I am deeply indebted to him and to many others like him for having brought us this far. I take today seriously because as I left home this morning, I said to Owen in spirit, ‘Owen I am not going to disappoint you’.”
Meanwhile, Cummins said it was a challenging time to take up the tourism portfolio when the sector had ground to a virtual standstill because of COVID-19.
“We will have an opportunity to retool, retrain, refashion, upscale, restrategise, create new tactical approaches so that by the time international travel gets going again, Barbados will emerge in a space that we would not have anticipated,” she said. (SAT)