Friday was no typical day in Speightstown, St Peter, as scores of townspeople took up several vantage points in the vicinity to get a view of the spectacle that was, and pay their respects to a beloved hometown boy who became a national colossus.
Umbrellas in hand, people from all walks of life gathered in the area of Battaleys onto Queen’s Street, as they positioned themselves to view the procession.
There was a tinge of excitement on some faces while others looked on solemnly as they prepared to say one final goodbye to Owen Seymour Arthur, a son of the soil.
The man known simply as Owen, who as MP for St Peter transformed the rural parish, was described as both a great “guy” and a great leader.
Leanda Inniss told Barbados TODAY: “Owen was really cool.
“I met him a few times and he was quite funny. He was a cool guy. He was really cool, and I liked him. He was an awesome guy.”
Kennedy Boyce recalled the first time Arthur was introduced as area MP in the mid 1980’s.
“He was a great guy. I remember the first time they were introducing him to the people of St Peter, that was a historic night. I was there. It was like carnival from Benn Hill to the gas station. We had the political meeting and it was amazing. He was a great guy and a great leader. That is why I am here to see what they have for him today. He was a great guy,” he said.
Before midday, onlookers began gathering at the Battaleys satellite location under a tent.
Members of the Barbados Defence Force took up position as they prepared for the arrival of the cortege.
At exactly 12:50, the procession bearing the body of the late former prime minister arrived at the Battaleys location to the strains of a dirge.
As the massed bands of the BDF and Royal Barbados Police Force played on, the casket, draped in the Broken Trident, was transferred from a hearse to the green gun carriage, first used to bear the body of the nation’s third Governor General Sir Deighton Ward for his state funeral in 1984.
As the funeral march played, the cortege then made its way on to Queen’s Street, Speightstown, equally thrilling and saddening residents beholding the solemn pageant.
When the procession arrived at the Alexandra School, Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Attorney General Dale Marshall – all dressed in black and wearing masks – joined the procession with fellow Cabinet ministers behind the family limousines, which then made its way to St Peter’s Parish Church in the heart of the northern town.
During the service, a handful of people stayed on at the Battaleys location watching from the screens.