Beginning July 27, Barbados started three days of national mourning to honor one of the most deeply rooted politicians in the country's history.
Besides being a leading economist and historian, Arthur was the islands' longest-serving Prime Minister as he was in the office for three consecutive terms (1994-2008).
He left the leadership of Barbados' Labor Party (BLP) in 2008 after the party lost the general election, but he kept his seat in the parliament.
Barbados lost today, our 5th Prime Minister, Owen Seymour Arthur. Even as I visited Mr. Arthur yesterday, I’m still taken by the quickness of his passing. Indeed, this is one of the few occasions in public life that I struggle for words. https://t.co/7Xuqxg6MfBpic.twitter.com/soM2Udflqt
Since then, he became a low profile citizen and retired from the public sphere. He stayed that way until the BLP won a landslide victory in the general election on May 24, 2018, when it secured 30 seats in the House.
The Caribbean governments expressed dismay at the death of former PM Arthur, who will be remembered as one of the leading figures of integration in the region.
Besides being the chief architect of the single market of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Arthur was deeply committed to regional integration, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines' Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves recalled.
“Barbados and the Caribbean have lost a great son. He was one of the best and brightest political minds in the region. A brilliant economist too,” Granada's PM Keith Mitchell said.
Just before his death, Arthur shared his experience with the region as the head of the Commonwealth Observer Mission that oversees the conduct of the March 2 elections in Guyana, the Trinidad & Tobago's PM Keith Rowley pointed out.