Biography 2007 Wilberforce Lecturer Owen Seymour Arthur - Prime Minister of Barbados

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The Right Honorable Owen Seymour Arthur assumed office on September 7, 1994, as Barbados’ fifth Prime Minister. At 44 years old, he became one of the youngest Barbadian politicians elected to that office.

Mr. 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, Mr. 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.

Mr. Arthur is the holder of the Order of José Marti of Cuba, named after the leader of the Cuban independence movement as well as a renowned poet and writer.

Mr Arthur will officially open the Wilberforce House Museum after its £1.6 million refurbishment on the bicentenary anniversary of the Abolition of slavery. He will then deliver his lecture on the general impact of slavery today.