PM pays glowing tribute to the late Sir Fredrick
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart today described the late Sir Fredrick Sleepy Smith as a quintessential part of Barbadian life, someone who was easily approachable and with whom the average Barbadian felt comfortable.
Stuart today joined fellow legislators in paying tribute to the former parliamentarian who died on July 11, aged 92.
Stuart described Smith as, “a man who whether hosting a radio call in programme or just walking the street and talking to people, infused them with a certain amount of confidence, and a sense of importance that what he achieved”.
Sir Fredrick was a founding member of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), and the nation’s first Attorney General. As a jurist, he served as an Appeal Court Judge in Barbados, Chief Justice of the Turks and Caicos Islands, President of the Court of Appeal of Grenada and Assistant Attorney General of Cameroon.
“Every honour bestowed on him – whether it be Queen’s Counsel in 1966; when he became Attorney General; or later when he got a knighthood in 1987; or in the year 2006 when he got an Honourary Doctorate of Laws from the University of the West Indies – was richly deserved because he contributed selflessly to the country of his birth, to the Caribbean, and further afield as far as Africa,” Stuart said.
“We will not easily replace Sir Fredrick Smith in the public life of Barbados.”
The Prime Minister recalled that Sir Frederick had left national hero Sir Grantley Adams’ Barbados Labour Party and helped found the DLP along with another National Hero, the country’s first Prime Minister Errol Walton Barrow, among others.
Yet, he said, when the West Indies Federal Parliament was constituted and Grantley Adams named the first Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation in 1958, Smith “expressed how he felt about Barbados being able to produce the first, and the only, Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation”.
“That led a to a collision with Barrow, as a result of which he resigned as chairman of the party, as a member of the House and went off to pursue his professional career.”
According to Stuart this incident showed the mettle of Sir Frederick’s character, “because between1958 and the time of the publication of [his book], Dreaming A Nation [in 2015], Sir Fredrick Smith kept his mouth shut as to the real reasons why he left the Democratic Labour Party and Barrow in 1958”.
The Prime Minister said that despite the rumours, “he kept his mouth shut because his loyalty to the Democratic Labour Party and his loyalty to Barrow never faltered”.
Stuart also recalled that as Opposition Leader in 1976, Sir Frederick described Bertie Hinds who was nominated as Speaker, as unfit for the position.
“That did not win him any friends, and from that day until he left Parliament there was a running battle between him and the Speaker.
“He was not afraid to confront authority if he thought he was right,” the Prime Minister said.