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REMEMBERING BARROW: Barbadians weep for their ‘Skipper’

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REMEMBERING BARROW: Barbadians weep for their ‘Skipper’

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On the occasion of Errol Barrow Day, we remember late prime minister Errol Walton Barrow. He would have been 99 years old today.

THERE was open weeping and a feeling of great loss expressed among Barbadians from all walks of life at the death of Prime Minister Errol Barrow yesterday.

The country was reduced to relative whispers as men and women gathered in little groups, some seeking solace in alcohol, gloomily exchanging views on the late Prime Minister. He meant various things to them but they all dubbed him a fighter for the underprivileged, a statesman and the only man who could achieve Caribbean unity.

News of his death was death was a shock to them, words could not truly express the way they felt.

Here are some initial reactions to the sad news:

Byron Hall, retired civil servant: We served in the volunteer service on September 1, 1939, when the war broke out. He always had a warm heart. He did a lot for Barbados and we regret his passing.

Rupert Agard, merchant seaman: I admired his attitude. He was a no-nonsense person. He spoke boldly on behalf of the nation’s Independence.

Ian Hope, salesman: It was shocking news. It is a Caribbean loss. He did not have time to fully realise his dreams for the masses of the people, but he tried.

Marjorie Austin: I can’t say how I feel. Barbados has lost a great man.

Hazel Holford: It is such a shock. He spent just a year and three days as Prime Minister. Only last night I had a dream of him.

Mariam Griffith: I feel sad because he was a nice person. It is too much grief to bear.

Lily Martindale, shop proprietor: I am so hurt. I feel as if my child had died. Even though he never did anything for me personally, I feel I have lost a great friend. I have prayed and asked God to brace me.

Janet Lovell, shop attendant: I feel his loss will be a setback for Barbados.

Alexandra Marcelin, painter: I admired the Right Honourable Errol Walton Barrow for the good he has done, for this country and the intentions he had for the country. When he said he would do something he did it.

Winston Culpepper, dairy worker: He was a cultural man. He brought us from the village to the nation state. I am sorry at his passing.

Wayne Field, clerk: He was the Godfather of the Caribbean – a man that will be missed by all in Barbados. I hope that his passing will not be a setback for the country.

Wendy Cumberbatch, nursery attendant: He was a great leader. It is indeed a great loss to the country and the poor people especially.

Anthony Austin, seaman: I am completely shocked. But I think he left the country in good hands like any good leader would. In this one year, he has done a lot to bring the Caribbean closer together and in another three years we would have had complete Caribbean integration.

Lloyd Rock, gardener: He did great work in establishing the University of the West Indies and the law faculty there.

Alonzo Hamblin, snow cone vendor: You will never find another man like him. He had a great brain.

Eleanor Watts: I loved that man from the time he was a lawyer. He represented the underprivileged in the courts, even when he did not know them. The weight of his speeches brought a greater burden on him.

Charles Scantlebury: Since he got back into power, the integration of the Caribbean was coming back to the fore; even with the problem with Trinidad being solved. I have been crying for a long time.

 This article was published June 2, 1987.