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Mottley pays tribute to the late Norma Holder

Opposition leader Mia Mottley has paid glowing tribute to the late Norma Holder, former principal of the Barbados Community College (BCC) who passed away early this morning after a brief illness.

Mottley, a former minister of education, described Holder as a dignified, gracious and humble lady, who was devoted to duty.

“Jamaican by birth, Barbadian by choice.  She like many other Caribbean citizens of her time came to this country and committed unreservedly to the building of a young nation. Indeed, Mrs Holder can be described as a true Barbadian nation builder,” Mottley said in a statement issued this evening.

“Whether in her chosen training as a chemist, in her latter career as an educational administrator, pursuing her passion as a classically trained and accomplished pianist and organist or in her role as Chairman of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, she gave of herself always – and with grace.”


Norma Holder

Mottley recalled Holder’s tenure at the helm of the BCC, noting that as the first female principal, she presided over the “almost trebling of the enrolment of our sole community college when requested to expand the institution.

“She crafted and shepherded into existence both the expansion of the Hospitality Institute and the Pom Marine Hotel at its present site in Marine Gardens and, thereafter, the Barbados Language Centre. She introduced Associate Degrees in all of the disciplines then offered by the College, and added new areas to meet our wider development needs as a nation, for example, physical education.

“When I issued the challenge to start offering full degree programmes she readily embraced and implemented the Bachelor of Fine Arts and the Bachelor Performing Arts within 6 months. Mrs Holder also created opportunities for thousands of Barbadians to attend evening classes to attain Diplomas in a multiplicity of disciplines.

“Her lasting legacy, however, for me as Principal was in her championing of the Accreditation and Articulation Agreements nationally, regionally and internationally. Mrs. Holder ensured that those who read for Associate Degrees as well as Bachelor Degrees at the BCC would find currency in both their trek to further education and the market place,” Mottley said.

The leader of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) noted that Holder commanded respect across the region, and her achievements were mirrored across the Caribbean during her tenure as president of the Association of Caribbean Tertiary Institutions.

“Aunty Norma did all of this and more, for I am only speaking from memory, while being a devoted wife and mother and doting grandmother,” Mottley noted.

Holder leaves behind her husband, LIAT Chairman Jean Holder, daughters Janet and Caroline, and her grandchildren.

8 Responses to Mottley pays tribute to the late Norma Holder

  1. Cynthia Blackman
    Cynthia Blackman February 14, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    May she rest in peace ..

  2. Paula Coz
    Paula Coz February 14, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    Deepest sympathy to her family and friends!! May she Rest In Peace!

  3. Tristan John
    Tristan John February 14, 2016 at 11:04 pm


  4. Peta Thornhill February 15, 2016 at 3:46 am

    When i remember Mrs Holder i am delighted to say she was what a true Barbadian is about: loyal, supportive and selfless, i often forget to even mention that she was born in another Caribbean island but marrying Jean Holder was enough for me to be accepting and welcoming of her to our great land and she has not disappointed during her tenure deepest sympathy to her spouse, Jean and children at this very sad time in their lives. RIP

  5. Andrea Atkins
    Andrea Atkins February 15, 2016 at 5:51 am

    Lovely lady; condolences to her family.

  6. Michelle Payne February 15, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Mrs. Holder was the quintessential Renaissance woman—the embodiment of art, intellect and elegance. Norma was a role model, a mentor, a Caribbean woman. One of the most rewarding periods in my professional life was returning to Barbados on a visiting to the Barbados Community College to meet with her, to select talented students from the Barbados Community College(BCC) for scholarships at New York’s, City University. The last effort I worked on with Norma, was drafting a scholarship for my deceased cousin a former instructor at BCC. Last year, I promised you to write a review of Barrow…I will keep that promise.
    I will miss knowing that when I visit home (Barbados) I can no longer touch base with her.

    To honor her legacy and in particular, the special space she created for us at BCC that allowed our generation to grow intellectually and artistically; I hope that in the not to distance future, I will see the launching of the Norma Holder Scholarship and the auditorium at BCC re-named, The Norma Holder Performing Arts Center or the division of performing arts re-named. The Norma Holder School of the Arts at BCC.

    You will always be in a special place in my heart Norma.
    Farewell, my friend

  7. Gloria Hinds February 15, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    When I was managing the Second World Bank Education Loan Project for the British Council/Ministry of Education, I worked closely with her. Her aim was to get her lecturers fully qualified in their various disciplines.

    She was an outstanding Lady, very easy to work with although firm in what she expected. We ended as special friends.

    After bringing the BCC to the high standard it reached, it would be a fitting honour to rename BCC after her.

  8. Wendy Barrow-Smith February 16, 2016 at 12:52 am

    A woman of elegance, artistic and a true lover of people;
    she also appreciated the role that sports could play in an evolving society
    was always available to the students at BCC, and especially loved conversing with alumni on return visits will be truly missed
    Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory

    Wendy Barrow-Smith, Class od 1991


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