The Olympic Movement in Barbados joins all Barbadians in expressing profound sadness at the sudden passing of our former Prime Minister, Professor The Right Honourable Owen S. Arthur.
Professor Arthur had a very keen interest in sport and followed the exploits of our athletes closely. When Obadele Thompson won the bronze medal at the 2000 Games he welcomed the team during a special event at the Bay Street Esplanade, describing Oba’s feat as “awesome” for a small country like Barbados to be third in the world.
When three teams, namely – Basketball and Hockey men and women – qualified to participate in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, and the BOA did not have the funds available to accommodate them, Owen Arthur as Minister of Finance agreed to provide the money to allow these young men and women to compete.
However, his signal contribution to sport in Barbados was the establishment of the Barbados Lottery. He provided special tax concessions to facilitate the merger of the three existing lotteries to form the Barbados Lottery which today is the lifeblood of the BOA.
Just before he lost the 2008 General Elections, he shared with us his wish to bring Sport into the Prime Minister’s portfolio and to provide the BOA with a sport facility which would have enabled us to offer dedicated training, competition and office facilities to many of our national sporting federations.
Earlier this year Professor Arthur visited the Barbados Olympic Centre to deliver a lecture to a sport administration class at the Olympic Academy, a manifestation of his continued interest in sports and our organization. That sharp and witty intellect of which so many have spoken was very evident as was his profound understanding of what it takes to develop sport in Barbados and produce world class athletes. The Olympic Academy is grateful that this class of young sports administrators had the rare opportunity to hear and exchange views with him on the development of sport.
His brother, Richard (Shooting), daughter, Sabrina (Table Tennis ) and son-in-law, Kevin (Badminton) are long-standing members of the Olympic and Commonwealth Sport family. To them, and to all his family and friends, we extend condolences as we bid farewell to an outstanding Barbadian and dear friend of sport.
May he rest in peace.