1st Prime Minister Errol Barrow (1966 – 1976)

1st Prime Minister Errol Barrow 1966 – 1976

The Right Honourable Errol Barrow – a national hero and the first Prime Minister of Barbados – is survived by a long list of accomplishments, including a nation’s independence.

Founder of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in 1955, Barrow occupied Premier of the Government of Barbados from December 8th, 1961 until November 18th, 1966.

Errol Walton Barrow

The first Prime Minister of Barbados is a National Hero – Errol Walton Barrow.

Under Barrow, the DLP brought Barbados to Independence in 1966. The Constitution was ratified on the 30th of November that same year.

Barrow continued to head the newly independent country under the title of Prime Minister. The first Prime Minister of Barbados, Barrow, secured another landslide victory in 1971 holding the post until September 1976.

Barrow was an enigmatic leader. Born in St. Lucy’s parish, Barrow hailed from a family of political and social activists.

Errol Barrow’s father, an Anglican priest, was removed from his posting on the island of St. Croix for his controversial sermons preaching against racism and social stratification. His uncle, Dr. Charles Duncan O’Neal, was the founder of the Democratic League of Barbados and one of the island’s 10 National Heroes.

Errol’s older sister, Dame Nita Barrow, was a renowned social activist and humanitarian. In 1990, Nita Barrow was appointed Governor-General of Barbados, a position she held until her death in 1995.

Educated at Harrison College, Barrow went on to study law and economics concurrently at Inns Court and the London School of Economics (respectively).

During his college years, Barrow served as Chairman of the Council of Colonial Students, where he consorted with future leaders, including Forbes Burnham, Michael Manley, Pierre Trudeau, and Lee Kwan Yew.

Achievements from Barrow’s illustrious and varied career also included:

— Flying Officer of the Royal Air Force (1940)
— Errol joined the RAF as an AC2 in Dec 1940. He was promoted to Flying Officer on 3 Nov 1944.
— He flew 48 operational sorties.
— Personal navigator to the Commander in Chief of the British Zone of occupied Germany during WWII (1945)

All this information and more is available here: Errol Barrow – Statesman, Prime Minister of Barbados, RAF Navigator World War II
The Beautiful Blonde in the Bank – F/L Andrew Leslie Cole AFC RAF

Unafraid to challenge norms, he dedicated his political career towards the advancement of Barbados and the Caribbean as a whole. Barrow was a firm believer in regional integration, economic diversity, and social welfare initiatives.

During his government tenure, Barrow successfully expanded the island’s tourism and industrial sectors, introduced National Health Insurance and Social Security schemes while increasing free education for all people at all levels within the country.

Regionally, Barrow is credited with helping establish the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) in 1965. CARIFTA was later expanded and rebranded as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

CARICOM provided a forum for representatives from the English-speaking Caribbean to strengthen relations and economic ties.

Barrow spoke out against advanced industrial nations’ tyranny in the subjugation of small island developing states within the Caribbean.

A humble leader, Barrow, was also opposed to lavish government spending by his contemporaries. The only Prime Minister not to claim residence of Ilaro Court, it is contended that Barrow refused the property because he was not “comfortable living in a house that cost so much money.”

Remembered as the Father of Independence, Barrow is the namesake to the island’s ABC Highway and Barbados’ 10 National Heroes. His portrait appears on the face of Barbados’ $50 notes.

In 1986, Barrow was once again elected as Prime Minister of Barbados. He died a year later in his home on June 1st, 1987. He was 67 years old.

Last Modified: October 7th, 2020
Published: June 2nd, 2019
Publisher: Totally Barbados


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Brett Callaghan is the founder and managing director of Totally Barbados. I specialize in writing content for the tourism industry for my island home of Barbados. I help companies build strategies to grow online businesses with SMART marketing, advertising, and social media goals.