A moderate crowd lined the streets of Bridgetown this afternoon to pay their final respects to former Prime Minister Owen Arthur.
And some of those who did, complained that the procession moved so fast that it was over in the blink of an eye.
Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley and his wife Esther Hinds-Atherley were among the few gathered in National Heroes’ Square, one of three satellite locations, where a large screen was erected following the movement of the procession.
Surprisingly, not many Barbadians lined the City areas for the state funeral despite public offices being closed at noon to allow persons to attend.
At exactly 12:06 p.m. the tan hearse carrying the body of the island’s longest-serving Prime Minister stopped opposite the Parliament – where Arthur represented the people of St Peter for 34 years – for a minute’s silence as a mark of respect.
A solitary police officer stood beside the hearse in salute.
The cortège then moved down Broad Street, Cheapside and Fontabelle, before making its way onto the Mighty Grynner Highway.
A group of taxi drivers who operate from Lower abroad Street were surprised at how fast the hearse and the cortege moved.
“It wasn’t really anything to see because as fast as they came they were gone. I was shocked that everything happened so quickly. I figured they would have moved a little slower so people could take pictures but that wasn’t the case,” one man lamented.
Another man added, “That went long too fast man. I don’t know if they were behind time or what but that went past here so quickly.”
A female, who declined to give her name but said she was a supporter of the Democratic Labour Party, said Arthur’s contribution was undeniable.
She said even though he was not a member of “her party” she felt she had to be there.
“At the end of the day he made a sterling contribution to Barbados and for that all Barbadians ought to be grateful, whether you are a Bee or a Dee.”
Taxi-driver Michael Birkett, who plies his trade from the taxi stand on Upper Broad Street, took the opportunity to pay his final respects.
He said although he had never met Arthur, he was a man who had done much for Barbados.
“I just stop to take a little peep and to pay my final respects. He was a man who helped a lot of people. He couldn’t help everybody but I know a lot of people got opportunities because of him,” he said.
Michael Drakes said it was his first time ever witnessing a state funeral.
He said while there wasn’t much fanfare, it was a memory he would keep forever.
“This is a memory I will always have. Not as many people turned up as I would have expected but I’m still glad I came. This is a part of history,” he said.