St. Lucy, no doubt, cradled this man who
Identified well with folks on the streets;
I wrote this acrostic poem in awe of Sir Errol Walton Barrow’s political life on the occasion of our 42nd Independence Day Celebrations. The move toward independence birthed in the 1930’s with a struggle by the descendants of liberated slaves to overcome high income restrictions on voting that kept political dominance by merchants of British descent. The results at the polls lead to the formation of trade unions from which leaders emerged.
Sir Grantley Adams founded the Barbados Progressive League, now the Barbados Labour Party. He was elected Premier of Barbados in 1958. By default, Sir Grantley Adam’s monarchristic view was no rival for Errol Walton Barrow’s fervent socialist views which captured the hearts of the Barbadian people. They deeply felt that Errol Barrow genuinely had their interest at heart. So, they eventually replaced Sir Grantley Adams in 1961. Errol Barrow became the new Premier when his party the Democractic Labour Party, a liberal alternative to the conservative Barbados Labour Party, gained power. Barbados’ ability to function autonomously through peaceful democratic process resulted in the negotiation of its independence at a constitutional conference with United Kingdom in June, 1966. The 30th of November is now a national holiday in Barbados that celebrates its independence.
Barbados has one of the oldest governments in the world, with Parliament first established in 1641, from December 1961, Barbados was granted internal self-government under the direction of Right Honorable Errol Walton Barrow, who then became Premier. In November 1964 the title Premier was changed to Prime Minister and then in 1966 the Barbados Independence Act was passed in the British Parliament in London. Barbados gained full independence from the United Kingdom on November 30, 1966, when it became a commonwealth country, with Queen Elizabeth 11 remaining as head of state, with the monarchy represented by the Governor General.
Sir Errol Walton Barrow was born in the parish of St. Lucy, Barbados on January 21, 1920 and this day is now a national holiday in Barbados to celebrate one of the country’s national heroes. In the parish of St. Michael there is a national park, the Errol Barrow Park. The father of Barbados Independence, Sir Errol Walton Barrow served in World War II and went on to train as a barrister at law. In 1955 he formed the Democratic Labour Party. After Barbados was granted internal self-government, Errol Barrow’s second major achievement was to lower the age of voting to 18 in 1964. His brand of leadership showered on him the greater accolade of Statesman and not that of a politician.
He was married to the American, Carolyn Plaskett Barrow, born on January 31, 1917 in Orange, New Jersey. She became the first lady of Barbados. Two children, David Barrow and Leslie Barrow were the result of their marriage. Carolyn Barrow died in Barbados of natural causes at the age of 84 on November 11, 2001. Her husband, Errol Walton Barrow was 67 years when he died on June 2, 1987. Their daughter, Lesley Barrow at 58 died on August 8, 2008 in Barbados.