News Releases

Former Barbadian Prime Minister delivers UWI Distinguished Lecture

For Release Upon Receipt - January 16, 2015

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago – The Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur, M.P., Former Prime Minister of Barbados (September 1994 to January 2008) will deliver a Distinguished Lecture hosted by the Institute of International Relations. He will be presenting on the topic “Caribbean Regionalism in the Context of Economic Challenges” on Monday January 19 at 6.30pm at the Noor Hassanali Law Lecture Theatre.  This event will be open to all.  A live stream of this event will also be available via UStream on the UWI – St. Augustine broadcast channel.   

This lecture is the first Distinguished Lecture of 2015 by the Institute of International Relations. The former Prime Minister will showcase his undying commitment to translating the vision of a CSME into reality and reduce the lag between concept and implementation of this ideal.  As a student of European integration, Mr. Owen Arthur will emphasise the impetus for the Caribbean region to implement the kind of hemispheric liberalisation arrangements that could help the region progress economically and financially.  Additionally, the tendency of the Caribbean tend to sell itself short will be addressed focusing on the stymied attempts at economic dynamism by putting up barriers to the flow of capital, provision of services, liberation of human capital and to the entrepreneurship and innovation of the youth.  

Renowned as an economist, pragmatist and a Caribbean statesman with a strong leaning towards the integration of the small island economies of our region, Mr. Owen Arthur’s tenure as Barbados’ Prime Minister proved his commitment as a regional integrationist.  Much of his term in office was devoted to trying to implement CARICOM’s Single Market Economy (CSME) – a by-product of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.  

This is no surprise as a life dedicated to public service would be a most appropriate way to describe Owen Seymour Arthur, Barbados' fifth Prime Minister from September 1994 to January 2008. He was educated in Barbados at All Saints Boys' School, Coleridge and Parry, Harrison College and the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), after which he studied at UWI's Mona Campus for his Master's degree in economics, the field in which he has gained national, regional and international renown and respect. 

Mr. Arthur’s illustrious career began as a professional economist began in Jamaica in 1973 where he served in the Department of Management of UWI as a Research Assistant thereafter he joined the National Planning Agency of Jamaica as an Assistant Planner in 1974 and reached the level of Chief Planner by 1979. He also served as Director of Economics at the Jamaica Bauxite Institute between 1979 and 1981. From there Mr. Arthur became a member of the Board of Directors of the Jamaica Scientific Council and the Jamaica Industrial Development Corporation. 

He then returned to Barbados in 1981, he held the post of Chief Project Analyst in the Ministry of Finance and Planning. In 1982 he became a Research Fellow at UWI's Institute of Social and Economics Research as a Research Fellow. He was then appointed to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Barbados Central Bank, the Barbados Industrial Development Corporation, and as Chairman of the Barbados Agricultural Development Corporation. 

Famously described by the late Prime Minister Tom Adams as "one of finest brains of the 20th. Century", his contribution to public life through politics started with being a Senator in 1983 and in his 1984 election to the House of Assembly where he is its longest serving member. He became Leader of the Opposition in 1993, thereafter leading the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to a record three straight election victories in 1994, 1999 and 2003. While in Government he was Barbados’ Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs for fourteen years. 

At the regional level, as the Prime Minister of Barbados, he assumed lead responsibility for the CSME.

At the international level, he was chairman of the Commonwealth/World Bank Taskforce that was constituted to formulate a global development agenda for Small States. He is the holder of the Order of Jose Marti awarded by the Government of Cuba. 

For more information on the “Caribbean Regionalism in the Context of Economic Challenges” Distinguished Lecture, contact Kemi Burgen at 662-2002 ext. 83235, email: or email


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website: 

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)