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In honour of Barrow

Mike King

In honour of Barrow

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It can be argued no one has made as significant a contribution to tiny Barbados than Errol Walton Barrow.
Indeed, when he bestrode this country like a colossus during the 1960s and early 70s, some Barbadians referred to Barbados as Barrow-bados.
This Saturday, this country will once more recognize all he has stood for, by celebrating Errol Barrow Day, with all kinds of activities planned in memory of this country’s first Prime Minister, a National Hero, and nationally acclaimed Father Of Independence.
Barrow revolutionized Barbados and gave hope to the poor and downtrodden in much the same way as the great Dr Martin Luther King Jr championed the cause of Blacks in the United States in the 1960s.
It is noteworthy that both men have holidays named in their honour in the same week with the revered King having his day in the sun on January 16.
Historian Alexander Hoyos once noted that Barrow, a graduate of the London School of Economics, brought the resources of a trained lawyer/economist to the cause of progress and reform.
A founding member of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Barrow swept to power as Premier in 1961 and held that position until 1966.
He then took the island into Independence from Britain after his party won elections, thus becoming Barbados’ first Prime Minister.
Barrow led this country for 15 years from 1961 to 1976, and after two defeats at the polls, returned in triumph in 1986, in a resounding 24-3 victory.
Son of the late Reverend Reginald Grant Barrow and the late Ruth née O’Neal, he was the nephew of legendary Dr Charles Duncan O’Neal, founder of the Democratic League.
The desire to fashion a new political force led Barrow in 1955, along with Frederick Smith, Cameron Tudor and others, to form the DLP.
He was not happy with the leadership style of Grantley Adams and he broke ranks with the Barbados Labour Party, signalling a new era in Barbados’ politics.
Barrow will be remembered for introducing the school meals service in 1963, expanded free secondary education and the National Insurance Scheme.
In 1987, Barrow, a kingpin in St John (he was the Member of Parliament there for 29 years) and Barbados, passed away at the age of 67.