Below is a tribute by the Healthy Caribbean Coalition
The directors and member organisations of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) acknowledge the sad news of the passing of the former Prime Minister of Barbados, the Right Honourable Owen Seymour Arthur.
Much has been written and said about Prime Minister Arthur’s scholarship, political skills, and visionary leadership.
At this time HCC pauses to reflect on, and take note of, Professor Arthur’s significant contribution to the socio-economic development of people of the Caribbean region, including through his efforts to advance the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Deliberations arising at, and out of, the CARICOM Heads of State and Government Regional Summit on Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases in 2007, under Prime Minister Arthur’s chairmanship, led to global recognition of NCDs as a major threat to health, and the first United Nations High-level Meeting on NCDs. At regional level, the discussions galvanised the civil society NCD movement in the Caribbean and led to the formation of the HCC, an alliance of civil society organisations working for NCD reduction. At national level, the multisectoral Barbados National NCD Commission was established to fight NCDs.
Professor Arthur’s astute and far-sighted observations in 2007 included the need to control the factors which engender NCDs and imperil the lives of the people of the Caribbean and the future of the CARICOM. He recognised the need for, and encouraged, coordinated regional partnership and action to influence factors such as equitable access to healthy foods and quality health care. These observations are as relevant today as when Professor Arthur first expressed them 13 years ago.
We in the HCC express sincere appreciation for Professor Arthur’s work and his contribution to the political and socio-economic development of Caribbean people. We are confident that his legacy will include a continued focus on health and its social and other determinants, for the betterment of the quality of life of all people in the region.
The directors and member organisations of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition extend sincerest condolences to Professor Arthur’s wife, daughters, family members, and close associates.