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REMEMBERING BARROW: The father of Barbados’ independence


Tony Vanterpool

REMEMBERING BARROW: The father of Barbados’ independence

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DURING a cocktail reception at Culloden Farm about 15 years ago, a guest remarked about the late Prime Minister Errol Barrow: “He seems to be an expert on every subject.”

The remark came after the Prime Minister had taken his guest on a tour of the gardens and like a qualified horticulturist, he set about naming every flowering plant and shrub. He could also respond promptly to the queries about the trees.

That was the late Mr. Barrow’s forte – his ability to discuss any subject under the sun.

Usually his discussions were not only based on knowledge gained from books but from practical experience.

He was a pilot, a navigator, a yachtsman, a photographer; he was a better than average cook and above all he was a very skilful organiser and debater.

As a navigator he gave yeoman service in the Royal Air Force during World War II and as a pilot he laid the foundation for the launching of the Barbados Light Aeroplane Club.

As a yachtsman he was instrumental in the formation of the Barbados Cruising Club which provided yachting facilities for those black Barbadians who were kept out of the then Royal Barbados Yacht Club and he was later instrumental in having the Royal Charter removed from that club.

As a photographer he covered, among his most recent assignments, the last Philippine general elections for the SUNDAY SUN and as an organiser and debater he was able to defy the odds by becoming the first ever Barbados head of Government to have served twice in that capacity after a long break in service, outstripping even the late Sir Grantley Adams who tried a second time to be a Head of Government following his stint with the Federal Government but failed.

But of all these things, he derived the most pleasure from sailing and the annual highlight for him would be that trip through the Grenadines over the Christmas and New Year holidays, touching at Bequia for friendly get-togethers with “Son” Mitchell, the current Prime Minister of St Vincent.

Although himself an excellent sailor, he would usually be in the very capable hands of the late Captain George Ferguson.

But that trip to the Grenadines always came after his – Christmas morning receptions for hundreds of his supporters and close friends at Culloden Farm. It was on occasions like these that he embarked on many cooking episodes – even without the help of his then Deputy, Cammie (now Sir James Tudor), himself a cook of some repute.

Those were the days when Culloden Farm was “open house” daily and the rich and poor; the lame; the blind and, in other words, all were welcomed.

Errol Walton Barrow has enjoyed a wide circle of friends a tribute to the man who Barbadians regard as the father of Independence.

This article was published June 2, 1987.

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