St Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet

Opposition leader Kamla Persad Bissessar says the Caribbean has lost one of its “greatest statesmen and a true leader of character,” with the death of Arthur.

In a statement, she said “On behalf of the United National Congress I offer my sincere condolences to the people of Barbados on the passing of Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur.

Our Caribbean region has lost one of its greatest statesmen and a true leader of character who dedicated his life not only to the development of Barbados but the entire region.

The fact that he was the longest-serving Prime Minister of Barbados, serving from 1994-2008, is a testimony to his dynamic vision and progress-driven approach which significantly improved the lives of the people of Barbados.

She said Arthur’s vision went beyond the borders of Barbados as he committed to improving the overarching socio-economic structure of Caricom and strengthening regional development.

She said hislegacy will live on for many generations as inspiration for many Caribbean youths who wish to enter politics

Kingston – Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness has described the former Barbados prime minister Owen Arthur as a person who “was passionate about his country” as he joined other regional leaders in expressing condolences to Arthur’s family.

Arthur, Barbados longest serving prime minister, died earlier on Monday from heart related complications. He was 70.

“Today I pause to pay my respects to a man who served Barbados and the Caribbean with distinction, former Prime Minister of Barbados, Owen Seymour Arthur. I am truly saddened by his passing,” Holness said in a message on his Twitter page.

St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet extended “deepest condolences to Barbados” on the death of Arthur.

“Our heart goes out to his wife and daughters and all his family and friends and to the government and people of Barbados,” he added.

The Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque said the entire Caribbean Community mourns the passing of an “ardent regionalist” in Arthur.

Arthur’s last regional public outing was to lead a Commonwealth Observer team to the March 2 regional and general elections in Guyana and, in a statement, the main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) said it was “deeply saddened” by his death.

Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, in his tribute, referred to Arthur as his “close friend and colleague.”

Mitchell said, “Barbados and the Caribbean have lost a great son. He was one of the brilliant and best political minds of the region. A brilliant economist as well. I had tremendous respect for his insight into political and economic issues.”

Mitchell met Arthur at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus in Barbados where they both studied, and played together on the UWI cricket team. They both went on to further their studies and returned to their respective countries around the same time. “We were in government around the same time, then went into opposition around the same time. We maintained a good relationship throughout the years.”

Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit praised Arthur for his contribution to the socio-economic development of Dominica describing him also as a regionalist, who fought for the betterment of the 15-member regional integration movement, Caricom.

Former Commonwealth secretary general, Sir Shridath Ramphal, said Barbados has lost a great son and the regional integration movement “Caricom has lost a great West Indian. We are all the poorer for Owen’s going. “His last leadership role was to chair the Commonwealth’s Observer Mission to the Guyana elections where he distinguished himself for his courage in speaking truth to power. “

Caribbean diplomat Sir Ron Sanders praised Arthur for his love and commitment to the Caribbean. Sanders said: “Owen Arthur and I had been talking almost every day over the last few weeks, until he was admitted to hospital. He was deeply troubled by events in Guyana and about matters concerning LIAT. ‘