President of the Caribbean Development Bank Dr Warren Smith. (FILE)
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Bridgetown – The President of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr Warren Smith Tuesday paid tribute to the late former Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, saying that he had written his name “on history’s page in the annals of the Caribbean.
Arthur, 70, died on Monday at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he had been receiving treatment for heart complications.
Smith said that the island’s fifth prime minister had risen from humble beginnings “to be a titan of Barbadian politics, eventually becoming the country’s longest-serving Prime Minister and guiding the island through a period of unprecedented growth.
“Beyond Barbados, he wrote his name on history’s page in the annals of the Caribbean for, if there was one thing we knew for sure about Professor Arthur, it was that he was a steadfast and passionate defender of Caribbean regionalism.”
Smith said that Arthur had spent much of his political career, and even some of his political capital, to advance regional integration.
“Given his lengthy and unswerving commitment to the ideal of a Caribbean society, we believe that history will justly recognise him as instrumental to the advancement of the regional project, especially as he led us in the establishment of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy with the signature of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas in 2001.
“At times, when it seemed that progress and will stagnated, Professor Arthur rekindled the fire of regionalism with his intellectual ferment. For him, regional integration was a pathway to sustainable development,” the head of the region’s premier financial institution added.
Arthur served as a governor of the bank “resolutely ensuring that we held fast to our mandate to support regional development and mindful of the task, at hand, to build economic and social resilience of the small developing states that comprise our membership”.
“In fact, the agenda for the advancement of the cause of small developing states today very much bears his footprint. Twenty years ago, he boldly set out the twin challenges facing small developing economies of the region, namely volatility and vulnerability, and dared the international community to embrace “unorthodox” responses to their resolution,” Smith said.
“Like so many of us, he never gave up on the vision of an integrated Caribbean, despite the frequent delays in meeting the objectives. He remained until the end, a loyal public servant, both to Barbados and the Caribbean at large, taking on several challenging assignments this year alone.
“As we mourn his passing, we celebrate his legacy, and as the region’s development institution, pledge to continue the work of deepening and widening regional cooperation and integration,” Smith said, expressing condolences to Arthur’s wife, Julie, and daughters Sabrina and Leah. (CMC)