Dr Erskine Simmons (FILE)
Former politician, Pan Africanist, energy advocate and medical doctor Erskine Simmons has died.
The 83-year-old, of Pine Plantation Road, St Michael, passed away on Tuesday at Bayview Hospital. He will be buried next Thursday.
In 1986 Simmons joined his brother, attorney Keith Simmons, on the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) ticket and captured the St Michael South East seat. After losing it in 1991, he was appointed to the Senate.
He retired from elective politics in 1994 but was still involved, managing the DLP campaign in 2003.
Erskine attended Lynch’s Secondary School (“Green Lynch”), Foundation School and Combermere. He studied at the University of New York and, because Blacks could not study medicine there, went on to Howard University, from which he graduated and returned to Barbados in 1971 to begin his medical career at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
As a Pan Africanist, he was instrumental in the struggle to free South African icon Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners in Africa. From 1992 to 1994, he was president of the African Caribbean Pacific – European Commission Joint Committee.
As an advocate for alternative energy, he was among the first to have his home fully outfitted with a solar system.
Keith, a former magistrate and Government minister, said he would miss his brother, with whom he shared many memories. He said that as a doctor, he did not just treat his patients but got to know them personally.
He described Erskine, who swam, played cricket and jogged, as an easy-going person who died as he lived. (AC)