Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford (1937 – ) was the 4th Prime Minister of Barbados. Born on March 24 1937, Sandiford was a politician, scholar and educator, author and diplomat.
Sandiford was educated at Coleridge and Parry School. Like Adams and Barrow before him, young Sandiford continued his studies at Harrison College. He went on to complete 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 his home country of Barbados, 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 position 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 1990’s. Dramatic action was needed in order to prevent further decline of the island’s failing economy while meeting IMF bailout requirements.
Sandiford’s fiscal policies let to a decline in popular support. While the popular 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 eventual stabilization of the Barbadian economy, 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 that I paid was small in comparison to the good that came to the country.”
With a vision towards the future and self-effacing character, Erskine Sandiford was committed to his country and a true leader of his people.
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 rank and title of Knight of St. Andrew.
In 2009, Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford received an honourary LLD at UWI’s Cave Hill Campus. The same year, he became Ambassador to China. Sandiford is the first Barbadian Prime Minister to be appointed Ambassador to a foreign country.
Author: Brett Callaghan