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Errol W. Barrow
*Errol Walton Barrow was born on this date in 1920. He was a Black Barbadian politician.
From Barbados at Nesfield, St. Lucy he was the son of Rev. Reginald Grant Barrow and Ruth nee O'Neal. Young Barrow was also the nephew of legendary Dr. Charles Duncan O'Neal, founder of the Democratic League. In 1939, he won a scholarship in Classics to Codrington College but joined the Royal Air Force and served in World War II. He was personal navigation officer to the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army at the Rhine between 1940 and 1942. After the RAF, Barrow studied law and passed the Bar in 1949.
He returned home in 1950 as a practicing barrister-at-law and became a member of the Barbados Labor Party (BLP) in 1951. A founder of the Democratic Labor Party, Barrow swept to power in 1961 and held that position for five years. He then took the island into independence from Britain and became Barbados' first Prime Minister from 1966 until 1976. During his term in office, Barrow sought a new social democratic state and was able to expand free education to all levels; he introduced National Insurance, improved health services, accelerated industrial development, and the expansion of the tourist industry.
Barrow received many awards. Among them was an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law from McGill University in Canada in 1966 and the Lions International "Head of State Award" for 'outstanding service to the country in 1967. He was made a Privy Councilor in 1968, and in 1969 wrote Canada's Role in the West Indies.' In 1986, he again led his party to power by the largest margin in Barbados' history. On June 1, 1987, after only one year in office, Errol Barrow died.
In his honor, Barbadians observe his birthday as a National holiday and have a constant reminder of his life and service in his likeness, which is widely circulated on the island's fifty dollar bill, popularly known as 'an Errol'.
Barbados Government Information Service
Bay Street, St. Michael,
Barbados, West Indies.