Celebrating the life of Errol Walton Barrow

Acclaimed as the Father of Barbados’ Independence, Errol Walton Barrow was born in the parish of St. Lucy on January 21, 1920.

The son of the late Rev Reginald Grant Barrow and the late Ruth nee O’Neal, Errol was the nephew of National Hero Dr. Charles Duncan O’Neal, founder of the Democratic League, and the brother of Errol’s mother.

Over the 15-year period of his administration – first as Premier and then as Prime Minister – ending in 1976, he was particularly successful in securing many social changes for Barbados.

A founder-member of the Democratic Labour Party, Barrow swept to power as Premier in 1961 and held that position until 1966. He then took the island into Independence from Britain after his party won elections and he thus became Barbados’ first Prime Minister. Indeed, Barrow was twice Prime Minister, from 1966 to 1976 and again from 1986 to 1987.

Among his achievements as leader was the democratisation of the education process and expanded free education to all levels; the introduction of a National Insurance and Social Security scheme; school meals on an improved nutritional basis; improved health services; accelerated industrial development; considerable expansion of the tourist industry; and taking Barbados into Independence in November 1966.

Barrow also made Barbados a member of the Organisation of American States and in 1968, with other regional leaders, launched the Caribbean Free Trade Area, a forerunner of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

After spending 10 years in Opposition (1976-1986), Mr. Barrow again led his party to power, winning the General Elections by what was then the largest margin of seats in Barbados’ history, 24-3. Sadly, he did not live long enough to enjoy this victory. After only one year in office, he died on June 1, 1987.

He had, however, left an impressive record: First Prime Minister 1966-1976; the “Father of Independence”; supporter of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and regional unity; designer of a modern system of public budgeting; architect of the UWI Campus at Cave Hill, Barbados; creator of the Barbados Community College; co-founder of the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA); inspiration for lowering the age of majority from 21 to 18; and co-founder of CARICOM.

Taken from the booklet ‘National Heroes of Barbados’ (1998). For more information on the life of National Hero The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, pick up a copy of our publication by contacting the Barbados Government Information Service, Old Town Hall Building, Cheapside, Bridgetown at telephone number 535-1900.

13 Responses to Celebrating the life of Errol Walton Barrow

  1. Alex Alleyne January 21, 2018 at 2:36 pm


  2. Jerry January 21, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    He would be turning over in his grave at the destruction of his beloved Country and the progress he and other leaders achieved now at risk by his own party and being done in his name. Shame. He would have fired the whole lot of them.

    • Belfast January 22, 2018 at 12:05 am

      Fired the whole lot of them? He would not have picked any of these incompetent misfits in the first place even if it meant taking on all of the ministries like he almost did just before his death.

  3. Jennifer January 21, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Errol led this majority people WRONG. We still dipping and curtsying all like now.

  4. milli watt January 21, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    what was done in his time and what has been done in the last 25 years cannot be compared. I don’t think the combined effort of this entire batch established, old, new party could mek one a he. HE MUST BE ROLLING IN HIS GRAVE can’t RIP

  5. Jennifer January 21, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    The boat Errol was sitting in back then>>>>> these governments still sitting in today.

  6. Cecil Brooks January 21, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    changes will happen,that’s a given but wholesale changes without real purpose and firm convictions is a travesty.I grew up in the parish of St John in the 1960’s and saw real poverty, poor health conditions, no real opportunity for higher education, a bad transportation system, and a labour force confined largely to the canefields and one can continue about all the ills that confronted the people of this parish and Barbados as a whole. I saw Mr Barrow as a school boy at the then St John Mixed School, and he spoke to our class, and he pointed to our love ones working in the canefields and said to us,” the majority of our loveones in the fields had no choice but to work there, but you who now sit here had our destiny in our hands and with the policies he had implemented such as attending The Lodge School without a worry, if a family member could pay, we having received an education could choose if we wanted to work in the canefield or any other place/field of our choice”. He said many other things, but he said “but you who were more successful and became leaders must never forget where you came from and always remember never to put any obstacles in the way of any fellow Barbadian to stop him from receiving what you got at the hands of the policies that his government had implemented”. I am now spending some time in the USA but can:t wait to return home, and go to The parish of St John and see the improvements there over the years. How ever I have a sadness in my heart as we are about to celebrate Mr Barrow’s Birthday. The very people who gain from both the policies of the DLP and the BLP seem to have cataract in they eyes and have lost the convictions of the elders of both these party, and all I can see is the obstacles now being placed in the way of fellow Barbadians which I beg to ask what will the children sitting in schools in the year 2060, looking out the windows wondering what.

  7. Victor Philip
    Victor Philip January 21, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    Two intellectual giants from the Caribbean.

  8. Cherylann Bourne-Hayes
    Cherylann Bourne-Hayes January 22, 2018 at 6:42 am

    The best.

  9. Jennifer January 22, 2018 at 7:21 am

    And where exactly are we 51yrs on???

  10. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn January 22, 2018 at 8:44 am

    This government destroyed every thing that Barrow put in place. But yet still they calling his name to win the next general election

  11. Markus January 22, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Happy birthday Father Independence.

  12. Helicopter(8P) January 22, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Happy Birthday!! Just a memory of mine! You showed me how to pre-flight inspect an aircraft as a teenager.


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