Owen Arthur a Strident Regionalist – CARICOM Secretary-General
THE LATE former Prime Minister of Barbados, Professor Owen Arthur has been praised as a strident regionalist and a relentless advocate for the advancement of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). CARICOM Secretary- General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, in a statement following the passing of Professor Arthur on Monday, noted that as CARICOM Lead Head of Government for the CSME, Professor Arthur worked very closely with the CARICOM Secretariat to advance the initiative.
“In that regard, he was instrumental in the establishment of a Secretariat Office in Barbados dedicated to the initiative. He also worked assiduously to encourage the private sector to become more engaged in the work to make the CSME a lived reality,” the Secretary-General said.
“Professor Arthur was a strong advocate of functional co-operation which he viewed as fundamental for the success of the integration movement,” he noted.
“As Chair of CARICOM, he was the driving force behind the Needham Point Declaration of 2007, which positioned functional co-operation both as a priority and one of the principal means of distributing benefits among the Members of the Community.”
He said Professor Arthur continued his interest in the development of CARICOM and the integration process after demitting office.
“In 2010, he produced a major study for the Community on the “Integration of Belize and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) into the CSME”, he noted.
“During his mission to Guyana to observe the Elections last March, he found the time to visit the Secretariat Headquarters, where I engaged with him once again. Our discussions about the Community and the CSME demonstrated his on-going passion and concerns for the Region.”
“His commitment to regionalism has been maintained with his work at the University of the West Indies (UWI), as Professor of Practice: Economics of Development and more recently as Chairman of the Board of LIAT.”
“From his student days at the UWI to his untimely passing, Professor Arthur has been an unstinting champion of the Region and of integration,” the Secretary-General stated.