4th Prime Minister: Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford (1987 – 1994)

Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford (1937 – ) was the 4th Prime Minister of Barbados. Born on March 24, 1937, Sandiford was a politician, scholar, educator, author, and diplomat.

Sandiford was educated at Coleridge and Parry School. Like Adams and Barrow, young Sandiford continued his studies at Harrison College. He completed a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, where he served as President of the Guild (1954). He then pursued a Master’s degree in Economics and Social Studies at the University of Manchester in Britain.

Upon returning to Barbados, his home country, Sandiford joined the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and was appointed to the Senate in 1967, shortly after the country gained Independence (1966).

Sandiford left the Senate to pursue a seat in the House of Assembly, which he won during the 1971 elections.

Upon the sudden death of returning Prime Minister and DLP party leader Errol Barrow in 1987, then Deputy Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford assumed the position of 4th Prime Minister of Barbados. After winning the 1987 general election, Sandiford maintained the post of Prime Minister until his eventual overthrow in 1994.

Within the Government of Barbados, Sandiford held many posts, including:

— Minister of Education
— Minister of Economic Affairs & Tourism
— Deputy Prime Minister

Other accomplishments include:

— Member of Barbados’ first delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in New York
— Member of the Global Peace Council
— Established the Barbados Community College and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic
— Distinguished Fellow (Regional Integration & Public Policy), Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, Cave Hill Campus, University of the West Indies

During his time as Prime Minister of Barbados, Sandiford is most remembered for his stringent austerity measures during the early 1990s. Dramatic action was needed to prevent the further decline of the island’s failing economy while meeting IMF bailout requirements.

Sandiford’s fiscal policies led to a decline in popular support. While the famous chant of the day was, “Sandi must go!” Sandiford’s dedication to the financial stability of the island and economic progress must not be doubted. For this commitment and the Barbadian economy’s eventual stabilization, the 4th Prime Minister was forced to pay the ultimate political price.

Facing a no-confidence vote in the Assembly, Sandiford called for a 1994 election two years before the constitutional mandate required. Sandiford lost the election to Owen Arthur, leader of the BLP.

In an interview with Jamaican journalist Cliff Hughes, Sandiford was asked if he would have – with hindsight – done the same thing today. Sandiford replied: “I think that the price I paid was small compared to the good that came to the country.”
With a vision towards the future and a self-effacing character, Erskine Sandiford was committed to his country and his people’s true leader.

Sandiford remained in Parliament until 1999, after which he lectured economics and Caribbean politics at the Barbados Community College. In 2000, Sandiford was credited with the highest national honor when he was granted the Knight of St. Andrew’s rank and title.

In 2009, Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford received an honorary LLD at UWI’s Cave Hill Campus. The same year, he became Ambassador to China. Sandiford was the first Barbadian Prime Minister appointed Ambassador to a foreign country.


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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.