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Owen Arthur
(17 October 1949 - )
The Rt. Hon. Professor Owen Seymour Arthur
Former Prime Minister of Barbados

Owen Seymour Arthur is a Barbadian politician who was Prime Minister of Barbados from 7 September 1994 to 16 January 2008. To date, he is the longest serving Barbadian Prime Minister. He was Leader of the Opposition in Barbados from 2010 to 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

Owen Seymour Arthur was born in Barbados on 17 October 1949, and was educated at All Saints Boys’ School, the Coleridge and Parry School and Harrison College.

Arthur undertook undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of the West Indies and holds a Master of Science degree in Economics.


He has had a varied professional career. It began in Jamaica as a Research Assistant Careerin the Department of Management, Mona, in 1973, included a five year stint at the National Planning Agency of Jamaica, and as Director of Economics of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute between 1979 and 1981.

On his return to Barbados in 1981, he served as Chief Project Analyst in the Ministry of Finance and Planning before moving to the Institute of Social and Economic Research of the University of the West Indies as a Research Fellow.

Arthur has also performed public service in the capacity of a member of the Boards of Directors of the Jamaica Scientific Research Council, and of the Barbados Industrial Development Corporation, and the Central Bank of Barbados . He served as Chairman of the Barbados Agricultural Development Corporation between 1982 and 1984.

Arthur’s political career began when he was appointed to the Barbados Senate in 1983. He was elected to the House of Assembly in 1984, and served as Leader of the Opposition between 1993 and 1994.

He led the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to victory in the General Elections of 1994, 1999 and 2003. It is the first instance since Independence that a political party has been successful at the polls in three consecutive Elections. Since becoming Prime Minister of Barbados, Arthur has assumed lead responsibility, within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), for the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).

He has also served as Chairman of the Commonwealth Ministerial Group on Small States, Chairman of the Global Conference on Small States, and Co-chairman of the Global Forum to deal with the OECD Harmful Tax Competition Initiative.

He has also had varied experience as a Consultant - to the Organisation of American States, CARICOM and to the Ministry of Housing and Lands in Barbados and has published a number of papers on trade, integration and technology, balance of payments and economic adjustment issues.

On 15 January 2008 and again on 21 February 2013, the Barbados Labour Party unsuccesfully contested the General Elections. Arthur continued to serve in the House of Assembly as the representative for the constituency of St. Peter.

In July 2014, Arthur resigned from the BLP and continued to serve in the House of Assembly as an independent.

He did not seek re-election in the 24 May 2018 General Election.

Honours and awards

Arthur is the holder of the Order of José Marti of Cuba.

In November 2018, Arthur was conferred with the title of Professor of Practice: Economics of Development by the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

Personal life

Married to the former Julie Ann Price, he is the father of two daughters.

His hobbies include gardening and cooking.


28 October 2012
Address to 74th Annual Delegates Conference of the Barbados Labour Party, 28 October 2012
25 March 2007
Address in Commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, 25 March 2007, Hull, England
15 September 2007
Opening Remarks on the Occasion of the Regional Summit On Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases, 15 September 2007, Port-Of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
20 November 2006
Address by the Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados at the Opening of the 12th ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Sherbourne Conference Centre, Barbados, 20 November 2006
30 January 2006
Address by The Right Hon. Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados, on the Occasion of the Signing of the Declaration Launching the  CARICOM Single Market, 30 January 2006, Kingston, Jamaica
12 November 2004
Address to Fourth Anniversary Awards Dinner of the Caribbean-Guyana Institute of Democracy, 12 November 2004
23 April 2004
The Caribbean Single Market and Economy: The Way Forward, 23 April 2004
20 April 2001
A hemispheric community for a global age: Remarks at the Third Summit of the Americas, Quebec City, Canada, 20 April 2001.
8 Januaryl 2001
Opening Statement by the Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados at the High Level Consultations on the OECD's HArmful Tax Competition Initiative, Sherbourne Conference Centre, Barbados, January 8-9, 2001.
4 July 1999
From Chaguaramas to Port-of-Spain: 20th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), 4 July 1999 by Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur, Prime Minister, Barbados
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Owen Arthur
Occupation Economist, Politician
Date of Birth 17 October 1949
Place of Birth Barbados
Notable Accomplishments
Prime Minister of Barbados: 7 September 1994 - 16 January 2008
Barbados Barbados
Heads of Government of Barbados
Barbados Labour Party
Independent (since July 2014)

 National Heroes
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 Women in Caribbean Politics
 Caribbean Nobel Laureates
 Order of the Caribbean Community Recipients
 In Memoriam
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