‘Make T.T. a National Hero!’
A call has been issued for Atholl Edwin Seymour Lewis, affectionately known as T.T Lewis, to be considered for National Hero status in Barbados.
Principal and pro vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus, Sir Hilary Beckles, made the call today as he spoke to reporters about an upcoming play depicting the life and work of the late politician.
“I would like to imagine that when the time comes, when the Government and people of Barbados are reflecting upon additions to the pantheon of National Heroes that Mr Atholl T.T Lewis be given primary consideration,” said Sir Hilary.
“T.T Lewis was arguably the founder of almost every political party in modern Barbados. He was there at the beginning in the labour movement he was a founder of the trade union movement, the leader of the Clerical Workers Union. He was there with the establishment of the Progressive Labour Party. He was there with the Congress Party in the ’40s, he was evolved with the DLP and he was a founder of the BLP,” he added.
Lewis was born in 1905 and died in St Lucia in 1959.
Sir Hilary said his “extraordinary” contribution might have been overlooked over the years and he might have “fallen between the crack of the party political search”.
The outspoken educator and historian said while he was satisfied with the existing tennational heroes, he believed the addition of Lewis would make that circle “perfect”.
“From time to time we have to review the situation,” he said.
“A first cut of a process is never perfect and I would say that the first cut was close to perfect but not perfect. Now I believe that the T.T Lewis inclusion would create the perfection,” explained Sir Hilary, adding that Lewis was both remarkable and extraordinary.
Describing him as an unusual character, Sir Hilary said as a white Barbadian who won support of many black voters in the city for about a decade, he was known as “the white man with the black heart”.
Speaking of his popularity in the 1940s and 1950s, Sir Hilary said his advocacy and leadership in the House of Assembly and the country was “critical in winning a number of important developments”.
“You cannot speak about adult suffrage which came to this country in 1950 . . . without speaking of T.T Lewis. He was in the vanguard of that struggle,” added Sir Hilary.
“There is no doubt that had he not fallen prey to ill-health and not died he might very well have emerged as the Deputy Prime Minister or the Prime Minister or the leader or one of those important positions in the DLP when it came to victory in 1961,” the UWI principal said.
The play will be premiered on June 25 at the Errol Barrow Centre For Creative Imagination and runs for one month. Barbadian actor Patrick Foster will play the role of Lewis in the play themed No Country For A White Hero.