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The Right Excellent
Errol Walton Barrow
Errol Barrow.jpg
1st Prime Minister of Barbados
In office
18 November 1966 – 8 September 1976
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General John Montague Stow
Arleigh Winston Scott
Deighton Lisle Ward
Preceded by None
Succeeded by J.M.G. (Tom) Adams
In office
Governor General Hugh Springer
Deputy Erskine Sandiford
Preceded by Bernard St. John
Succeeded by Erskine Sandiford
Personal details
Born (1920-01-21)21 January 1920
Saint Lucy, Barbados
Died 1 June 1987(1987-06-01) (aged 67)
Political party Democratic Labour Party
Occupation Attorney at Law

Errol Walton Barrow, PC, QC (21 January 1920 – 1 June 1987) was a Caribbean statesman and the first Prime Minister of Barbados. Born into a family of political and civic activists in the parish of Saint Lucy, he was educated at Harrison College.


Errol Barrow served in the Royal Air Force during World War II. He enlisted in the RAF on 31 December 1940 and flew some 45 operational bombing missions over the European Theatre.[1] By 1945 he had risen to the rank of Flying Officer and was appointed as personal navigator to the Commander in Chief of the British Zone of occupied Germany, Sir William Sholto Douglas.

After the war he studied Law at the Inns of Court and economics at the London School of Economics concurrently, taking degrees in 1949 and 1950 respectively. He also served during that time as Chairman of the Council of Colonial Students where his contemporaries included Forbes Burnham, Michael Manley, Pierre Trudeau, and Lee Kwan Yew[citation needed], all destined to become political leaders in their home countries.

He returned to Barbados in 1950 and was elected to the Barbados Parliament in 1951 as a member of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). Feeling the fever of anti-colonialism he had inculcated during his student days in London, he quickly became dissatisfied by the incremental approach to change advocated by the party stalwarts. In 1955 he founded the Democratic Labour Party as a progressive alternative to the BLP. He became its leader in 1958 and the party won parliamentary elections in 1961 within his constituency of St. John. Barrow served as Premier of Barbados from 1961 until 1966 when, after leading the country to independence from Great Britain, he became Prime Minister. He served continuously in that capacity as well as stints as Minister of Finance, and Minister of Foreign Affairs for the next ten years. During this period he had lengthy affair with American musician and civil rights activist Nina Simone, who had fled to Barbados to avoid prosecution for tax resistance.[2][3][4]

During his tenure the DLP government accelerated industrial development, expanded the tourist industry to reduce the island's economic dependence on sugar, introduced National Health Insurance and Social Security, and expanded free education to all levels.

Barrow was a dedicated proponent of regional integration, spearheading the foundation of the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) in 1965. Eight years later CARIFTA evolved into the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), when Barrow, together with Forbes Burnham of Guyana, Dr. Eric Williams of Trinidad & Tobago and Michael Manley of Jamaica enacted the Treaty of Chaguaramas to bolster political and economic relations between the English-speaking Caribbean territories.

After another landslide victory in 1971, the DLP returned to the electorate in 1976 for a mandate after two years of bitter controversy over constitutional amendments put forth by the government. Barrow, who had invited public comment on the amendments verbally lashed out at those who had been critical of what he viewed as a minor procedural change in the appointment of judges. A general economic downturn which affected most countries in the hemisphere contributed to a shift in public sentiment resulting in the party's election defeat.

As an indomitable advocate of Caribbean sovereignty he fiercely opposed interference in Caribbean affairs. As opposition leader in 1983 he spoke out forcefully against the United States invasion of Grenada and he was scathing in his criticism of other Caribbean leaders who kow-towed to Washington in the hope of getting economic handouts:

"Mr. Seaga (Prime Minister of Jamaica, Edward Seaga) thinks that the solution to Jamaica's problems is to get President Reagan to play Santa Claus. I do not believe in Santa Claus."

In May 1986, after 10 years in opposition, Barrow was re-elected as Prime Minister in a landslide victory in which the DLP won 24 of 27 seats in the House of Assembly. The campaign was notable for an address he gave at a political rally some two weeks before the election which came to be known as the "Mirror Image" speech. In it, Barrow rhetorically asked Barbadians what kind of a future they saw for themselves when they looked in the mirror; contrasting a life of menial labour as an émigré in the developed world, or staying and building a strong and independent Barbados to rival other small states like Singapore.

His re-election served as a catalyst for resurgent nationalism in the region, which by and large had subordinated itself to U.S. aid policy in the early 1980s. Barrow wasted no time in distancing himself from the "mendicant mentality" of his predecessors J. M. G. Adams and Bernard St. John. In his first press conference as Prime Minister he referred to Reagan as "that cowboy in the White House". In a British interview he characterized the President of the United States as "a zombie; he's programmed, a very dangerous person".

He chastised Washington for its treatment of not only the Caribbean states, but also of Canada and the United Kingdom, which he described as Barbados' closest allies. His political opponents deemed his attacks on Reagan as "tactically stupid", but for most Barbadians his outspokenness meant that "The Skipper" was back.

A year after his re-election, Prime Minister Errol Barrow collapsed and died at his home on 1 June 1987, becoming the second sitting Prime Minister to die in office.

By an act of Parliament in 1998, Barrow was named as one of the ten National Heroes of Barbados.[5]

His sister, Dame Nita Barrow, also became a social activist, humanitarian leader and later Governor General of Barbados.


The Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, promotes the making, study and appreciation of the arts. It is "a hub for creative expression and the creative cycle: creation, production, distribution, appreciation and preservation of art".[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Second Contingent". Barbados Postal Service. Retrieved 5 July 2009. 
  2. ^ Simone & Cleary 2003, pp. 120–122
  3. ^ Simone & Cleary 2003, pp. 129–134
  4. ^ Brun-Lambert 2006, p. 231
  5. ^ Parliament of Barbados (2009). "Parliament's History". Barbadosparliament.com. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Barbados
Preceded by
Member of Parliament for Saint George
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Member of Parliament for Saint John
Succeeded by
David Thompson (Barbadian politician)
Political offices
Preceded by
New position
Prime Minister of Barbados
1966 – 1976
Succeeded by
J.M.G. Adams
Preceded by
Harold Bernard St. John
Prime Minister of Barbados
1986 – 1987
Succeeded by
Erskine Sandiford

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Errol_Barrow — Please support Wikipedia.
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1660 videos foundNext > 

Barbados National Heroes (Rt. Excellent Errol Walton Barrow)

A short animation highlighting the achievements of the Rt. Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, national hero of Barbados.

Kid Site - Errol Walton Barrow Tribute

Tribute to the late Rt. Hon. Errol Walton Barrow by veteran Bajan artist Kid Site. Wheh las yuh hear this wun?

Barbados Independence Tribute: A Birth of a Nation

As part of Barbados' 45th year of Independence, we at the Barbados Government Information Service created a pictorial montage of Independence night 1966 and beyond.

Errol Barrow Memorial Lecture & Awards Ceremony

Recorded on 1/23/2015 - Captured Live on Ustream at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/dlpbarbados.

Group ride in barbados "Errol Barrow Day"

one hel of a turn out just a few on vid.

Dr. Sir Frank Alleyne - 2013 Errol Barrow Memorial Lecture

Recorded on 1/24/2013 - Captured Live on Ustream at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/dlpbarbados.

Errol Barrow Day 2015 Final

Errol Barrow Day Bike Ride

Bike Life ,

Errol Barrow Day @ BLAC ( PT1)

Pleasure flight on Errol Barrow Day @ the Barbados Light Airplane Club PT 1.

Errol Barrow Day , What's a king to a God

Errol Barrow Bike day .

1660 videos foundNext > 

208 news items

Barbados Advocate
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:52:30 -0700

The announcement on the weekend just past by the Honourable Prime Minister, Mr Freundel Stuart, that the party he currently leads proposes to complete the process of nationhood – started by the Right Excellent Errol Barrow with decolonisation of the ...

Stabroek News

Stabroek News
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 02:00:00 -0700

By that time, Eric Williams of Trinidad and Tobago and Alexander Bustamante of Jamaica had become Prime Ministers of their independent countries, Errol Barrow of Barbados had committed himself against a Federation of the Eastern Caribbean islands and ...

Jamaica Observer

Jamaica Observer
Mon, 23 Mar 2015 23:11:15 -0700

"Therefore, the Right Excellent Errol Barrow decolonised the politics; Owen Arthur decolonised the jurisprudence and Freundel Stuart is going to complete the process, " Stuart told supporters of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) here on Sunday ...

Nation News

Nation News
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 04:03:45 -0700

... More · 10-MINUTE MANAGER: Carlos Best Read More. DR DIANE HOFFMAN delivered an intense lecture to academics and others invited to the 13th Annual Caribbean Public Policy Lecture at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination recently.
Barbados Advocate
Sun, 22 Mar 2015 17:11:15 -0700

... lecture entitled “Battle for Barbados: Restoring Historical Truth to the Public Space”. The festival continues today with an Inter-Campus Foreign Language Theatre Festival at the Walcott Warner Theatre, Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination ...
Barbados Advocate
Fri, 20 Mar 2015 00:18:45 -0700

And our predicament will not be assuaged by hypotheses as to what former Prime Minister, the Right Excellent Errol Barrow, would or would not have done in these times nor, for that matter, what sentiments might have escaped from the mouth of current ...
Nation News
Sat, 24 Jan 2015 20:30:00 -0800

Dr Ralph Gonsalves speaking on the idea of Barbados at Friday's annual Errol Barrow Memorial Lecture and Awards Ceremony at the University of the West Indies. (Picture by Lennox Devonish) ...

Nation News

Nation News
Fri, 14 Nov 2014 16:56:15 -0800

AYANA GIBBS, a first form student of Harrison College, has been greatly impressed by late Prime Minister Errol Walton Barrow. Related articles. Plea for the right to work · STREET BEAT: Reflecting on Barrow... His pledge for the people. Last year she ...

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