Former Prime Minister, Professor, The Rt. Honourable Owen Arthur, will be accorded a State Funeral with the “pomp and pageantry” befitting his outstanding contribution to this island’s landscape as the longest serving Prime Minister.
Ministerial Coordinator for the state funeral, Colin Jordan, who is also the Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, gave an update on the preparations during a press conference yesterday in the Conference Room at Cabinet Office.
He told the media that the service will be held on Friday, August 14, at St. Peter’s Parish Church, beginning at 2:00 p.m., and will be followed by the interment at Mount Pleasant Memorial Gardens, Benn Hill, St. Peter, which is located east of the All Saint’s Primary School, where the late Prime Minister received his early education.
Pointing out that the funeral service was being planned in accordance with the expressed wishes of Professor Arthur, he said from Monday, August 10, condolence books will be available at Government Headquarters, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; the Administration Building of the University of the West Indies, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; and the Speightstown Library on Monday, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., and Tuesday to Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The body of the late Prime Minister will lie in state in Parliament Buildings on Wednesday, August 12, and Thursday, August 13, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. During this time, mourners will file past the closed casket and sign the condolence books, which will be available on both days.
Condolence books for former Prime Minister, Professor, The Rt. Honourable Owen Arthur, will be available at Government Headquarters from Monday, August 10, , from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; the Administration Building of the University of the West Indies, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; and the Speightstown Library on Monday, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., and Tuesday to Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Mr. Jordan added that there will be a virtual condolence book for those living in the diaspora and other interested parties to convey their sympathy to the family, Government, and people of Barbados. The virtual book may be accessed at owenarthurtributes.bb.
The Minister also gave an update on the funeral procession route.
“On the day of the funeral service, the cortege will leave Lyndhurst Funeral Home, Passage Road, St. Michael, proceed through Bridgetown, make a one-minute stop at Parliament Buildings, then proceed to Speightstown via Kensington Oval, as we all know that former Prime Minister Arthur was an avid cricket fan and very instrumental in the redevelopment of Kensington Oval leading up to the 2007 World Cup series. The cortege will pass Kensington Oval along Mighty Grynner Highway, Highway One into Speightstown.”
While in Speightstown, Mr. Jordan said the casket will be transferred from the hearse to an awaiting gun carriage, which will take the body into the church.
He said the late Prime Minister was “very fond” of the schools he attended and passionate about education in general, and in this regard, students from All Saint’s Boys School, Coleridge and Parry School, Harrison College, Barbados Community College, and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology will line the route which the cortege will take when it reaches Speightstown.
The St. Peter Parish Ambassadors will also line the route in recognition of Professor Arthur’s foresight to take the island’s independence celebrations to the community.
The body of former Prime Minister, Professor, The Rt. Honourable Owen Arthur, will lie in state in Parliament Buildings on Wednesday, August 12, and Thursday, August 13, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be restricted seating in the church. However, Minister Jordan said there will be tents on the compound to accommodate mourners and satellite locations at the Family Church, Battaleys; the Speightstown Esplanade and in the Chapel at Mount Pleasant Memorial Gardens for the public to view the live televised service.
He said further information on the procession route and additional satellite locations, as well as traffic arrangements for Bridgetown and Speightstown, will be disclosed next week.
“While this is a sad occasion and while it is an occasion we believe many Barbadians will want to be a part of, we have to observe the COVID-19 protocols, and I don’t think that we can reiterate this enough …. We have to maintain that three-foot distance in the satellite locations, as well as the wearing of masks.”
Mr. Jordan said it was a challenging time for the family, but they were coping with the loss the best way they could. He said it was an honour to be chosen as the Ministerial Coordinator for the funeral service for Professor Arthur, whom he described as a mentor.