The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) joins the nation in mourning the passing of former Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Owen Seymour Arthur and in so doing, acknowledges his contribution to the development of Barbados and the region at large, especially as it relates to economic sustainability, development and growth.
It was Mr Arthur in his role as Opposition Leader who cited privatization, expansion and the creation of enterprises as measures to resuscitate the Barbados economy, specifically encouraging the business community to rise above a culture of enterprise which stymied competitiveness, efficiency and innovation. He called for the re-think of the concept of privatization – encouraging our members to examine the benefits and not be blindsided with negative assumptions.
The BCCI recalls his firm stance that “it is impossible to conceive of any strategy for the expansion of Barbados manufacturing, the growth of non-sugar agriculture, the expansion of micro and small business sectors all of which are driven by domestic demand in the absence of measures to stimulate domestic purchasing power.”
It was also Mr Arthur who structured the social partnership for which Barbados has since upheld as ‘best practice’. A visionary, Mr Arthur also cited Information Technology as a pillar for growth; our most recent survey endorses this in detail, putting Mr Arthur well ahead of his time.
Mr Arthur was also a recognized regionalist and integrationist; a Caribbean man at heart, thought and action. He was an architect of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and more recently headed the Commonwealth Observer Mission to Guyana’s General and Regional Elections – and was poised to help chart the future of our regional airline – always willing and ready to get involved as needed for the good of the Caribbean.
Throughout his various capacities, Mr Arthur remained a friend of the Chamber, ever approachable, ever willing to take to the platform, always eager to engage in discussions that served to propel us further – collectively and individually. As we look back on the many times that we were blessed by his thought provoking contributions, we are also grateful for his signature humility and willingness to share knowledge, insights and ideas – to give us reality checks and to consistently challenge us to be better and to do more for the benefit of Barbados.
As we continuously work to provide our members with focused leadership and a strong voice to promote the interests of the business community, Mr Arthur’s own voice and strong statements will live on, be remembered and upheld. The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry on behalf of its Council, Secretariat, Committees, Chairs and Members, extends deepest sympathy to Mr Arthur’s widow, Julie, his daughters Sabrina and Leah and his extended family, the people of Barbados and the Caribbean region.
The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI)