Guyana owes a great debt of gratitude to Owen Arthur – PM Phillips

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Remarks by Prime Minister, Hon. Brigadier Mark Phillips on the occasion of the Memorial Service of former Prime Minister of Barbados, Owen Seymour Arthur

I extend these sentiments today in honour of a great man; a sagacious mentor; a professional; a friend; a husband; a father- the Former Prime Minister of Barbados, Owen Arthur.

It is believed that the greatest legacy a man can leave behind is his ideas, and Owen Seymour Arthur was undoubtedly a man of excellent ideas, passion and political vigour. Behind him, he has left his family and an entire country to mourn, but he has paved ahead an immeasurable example for others to emulate; that of a true Caribbean leader and visionary.

Across the Caribbean, the contributions of Owen Arthur are ones with which we are all au fait. From his fight to reduce unemployment in Barbados, and his work in the island’s economic reform, to his instrumental participation in the establishment of the CARICOM single market- Owen Arthur served with fervour, insight, wisdom and might.

He brought with him a sense of duty and breadth of knowledge informed by many years of experience, appreciation for history and continued love for learning. These traits would lead to Mr Arthur becoming worthwhile counsel for many in the Caribbean to seek out and to follow.

Moreover, Mr Arthur’s love of country, and his unrelenting efforts to build his nation for the betterment of his people, are lessons that politicians can carve into their own pathways along their political journeys.

Indeed, today, we honour a man whose work and worth will never be forgotten.

Guyana owes a great debt to this stalwart. Before his passing, Mr. Arthur ingrained himself in the hearts of the people of Guyana, serving as Chairman of the Commonwealth Observer Group, during the 2020 General and Regional Elections, and later standing up in defence of democracy when the results of the elections were delayed for several months and Guyana’s democracy was being threatened.

Today, a new Government serves Guyana, thanks in no small part to the representation made by the likes of Mr. Arthur who lent his voice to ensure that democracy prevailed and stood by our side throughout the long and hard battle.

In his inauguration speech on August 8, 2020, Guyana’s newly elected President, His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, made sure to proclaim Mr. Arthur’s praise, thanking him for his steadfast determination in ensuring that democracy did not die and our people were not deprived of their democratic rights. President Ali deemed Mr. Arthur “a true friend of Guyana; a man committed to justice and rights of the people”.

I echo President Ali’s statements, as it is in your greatest time of need that those who come to our aid are those who are revealed as persons of true honour and worth.

As we bid farewell to this eminent political patriarch, let us remember his ideas. Let us reflect on his strong beliefs, staunch commitment, and inspirational prowess.

May his work continue and may his legacy, his ideas, forever live on.