Owen Arthur

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Owen Seymour Arthur

5th Prime Minister of Barbados
In office
6 September 1994 – 15 January 2008
Governor GeneralNita Barrow
Denys Williams (Acting)
Clifford Husbands
DeputyBillie Miller (1994 - 2003)
Mia Mottley (2003 - 2008)
Preceded byErskine Sandiford
Succeeded byDavid Thompson
ConstituencySaint Peter
Leader of the Opposition (Barbados)
In office
18 October 2010 – 26 February 2013
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterFreundel Stuart
Preceded byMia Mottley
Succeeded byMia Mottley
Member of Parliament
for Saint Peter
In office
22 November 1984 – 6 March 2018
Preceded bySybil Leacock (July 1984- November 1984)
Burton Hinds (1966-1984)
Succeeded byColin Jordan
Personal details
Born (1949-10-17) 17 October 1949 (age 69)
Barbados
Political partyBarbados Labour Party
Spouse(s)Julie Arthur
ChildrenLeah
MotherIretha “Doll” Arthur[1]
FatherFrank Leroy Arthur[2]
ResidenceIlaro Court 1994–2008
ProfessionEconomist

Owen Seymour Arthur, PC (born 17 October 1949) is a Barbadian politician who was Prime Minister of Barbados from 6 September 1994 to 20 January 1999; 20 January 1999 to 21 May 2003; and from 21 May 2003 to 15 January 2008. To date, he was the longest serving Barbadian Prime Minister. He was Leader of the Opposition in Barbados from 1 August 1993 to 6 September 1994; and from 23 October 2010 to 21 February 2013.

He led the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to victory in the 1994 general election and won general elections again in 1999 and 2003. In the 2008 general election, his party was defeated by the Democratic Labour Party and its leader David Thompson. Arthur stepped down as party leader, but remained the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Saint Peter. He subsequently returned to lead the BLP in 2010, but he was replaced as party leader after the BLP lost the 2013 general election.

Early life and education[edit]

Arthur was educated firstly, at The Coleridge and Parry Boy's School and then later Harrison College (Barbados) and then the University of the West Indies - Cave Hill, Barbados and Mona, Jamaica where he earned a BA degree in Economics and History (1971) and an MSc degree in Economics (1974). After graduating he held positions with Jamaica's National Planning Agency and the Jamaica Bauxite Institute before returning to Barbados and joining the Ministry of Finance and Planning in 1981.

Political career[edit]

Member of Parliament[edit]

He was appointed to the Barbados Senate in 1983 and elected to the House of Assembly in 1984. He was chosen to serve as Leader of the Opposition in 1993 very shortly after giving notice that he was considering departing from politics due to his inability to survive at a satisfactory level on the means of an MP. On 6 March 2018, Arthur was forced to resign as a Member of the Barbados Labour Party and a MP for Saint Peter by then Opposition Leader, Mia Mottley. Colin Jordan was elected as the new M.P. for Saint Peter on the 2018 Barbadian general election replacing Arthur. Arthur has since kept a Low public profile and has retired from public life, after he left Barbadian Politics in 2018.

5th Prime Minister of Barbados (1994-2008)[edit]

From 1994 to 2008, he was the leader of the Barbados Labour Party. In September 1994 the Labour Party won the general elections which made him Prime Minister. He won general elections again in January 1999 and 2003. In 1995 he was appointed a Privy Counsellor which bestowed him the title of "Right Honourable."[3]

One of the main platforms of Prime Minister Arthur for the 2003 elections was his promise to transform the country into a Parliamentary republic, replacing Queen Elizabeth II with a Barbadian President as Head of State. Arthur stated a national referendum would be held in 2005. However, this was pushed back in order to speed up the implementation process for the Caribbean (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy, and the focus of his term was directed to the hosting of Cricket World Cup 2007.

Leader of Opposition[edit]

In the general election held on 15 January 2008, the Barbados Labour Party was defeated by the Democratic Labour Party, winning ten seats against 20 for the DLP. DLP Chairman David Thompson was sworn in on 16 January, succeeding Arthur.[4] Despite the party's defeat, Arthur was re-elected to his own seat from St. Peter constituency with 65% of the vote.[5] He also said that he felt he could still contribute to CARICOM.[6] On 19 January, he stepped down as BLP leader, saying that he felt an immediate leadership transition would be in the best interests of both the party and Barbadian democracy; former Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley was chosen and elected as the new party leader against Former Attorney-General of Barbados Dale Marshall (politician) who was defeated by Mottley. Arthur said that he intended to serve out his parliamentary term.[7]

In 2010, Arthur was given a vote of confidence by four of his parliamentary colleagues to return to the Leadership of the BLP after they expressed dissatisfaction with Mottley. An Barbados Labour Party leadership election was held on 16 October 2010 and Arthur defeated Mottley. Arthur was sworn in on 18 October 2010 as Barbados' new Opposition Leader.

In the February 2013 general election, the BLP was narrowly defeated, obtaining 14 seats against 16 for the DLP. Arthur was re-elected to his seat. A few days after the election, on 26 February 2013, the BLP parliamentary group held an Barbados Labour Party leadership election and elected Mottley as Leader of the Opposition, replacing Arthur. According to the party, Arthur was not present on the election in order to "give the members of the parliamentary grouping the freedom to choose the future of the Barbados Labour Party".[8]

Honours and awards[edit]

Arthur is a recipient of the Order of José Marti of Cuba.

Owen Arthur with George W. Bush

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Obituary of Frank Arthur Archived 2016-06-30 at the Wayback Machine, CBC Barbados
  2. ^ Obituary of Frank Arthur, Nation News,
  3. ^ JCPC (1995). "Privy Council Members". Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Archived from the original on 2010-12-02. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  4. ^ "Thompson sworn in as Barbados PM", Xinhua, 17 January 2008.
  5. ^ Election result page for St. Peter constituency Archived 2008-01-20 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Arthur: Still a role for me" Archived 2008-01-19 at the Wayback Machine, nationnews.com, 18 January 2008.
  7. ^ Trevor Yearwood, "Mia takes over", nationnews.com, January 20, 2008.
  8. ^ "Mottley replaces Arthur as opposition leader in Barbados", Caribbean360, 26 February 2013.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Erskine Sandiford
Prime Minister of Barbados
1994 – 2008
Succeeded by
David Thompson