Barrow, Errol Walton (1920–1987)

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Barrow, Errol Walton (1920–1987)

Errol Walton Barrow (21 January 1920–1 June 1987), who ultimately became prime minister of Barbados, was born to middle-class black parents in the parish of St. Lucy in Barbados. An honor student, Barrow joined the Royal Air Force in 1940, and despite his experiences with racism, he rose through the ranks to become personal navigation officer to the commander-in-chief of the British Army in occupied Germany.

Upon his return from service he entered politics as a member of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). After gaining a seat in parliament in 1951 and serving the BLP for four years, Barrow left the party to form the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). This was the beginning of the extraordinarily stable two-party system on the island. It was also a period of major social change fought for against two powerful opponents: colonialism and the power of the white local plantocracy. Barrow won both battles without engendering hatreds or bitterness.

Barrow served as premier of Barbados from 1961 until independence in 1966, when he became the island's first prime minister. In 1986, after serving in the opposition for ten years, Barrow led his party to a decisive electoral victory and was reelected prime minister. He died a year after his election, on 1 June 1987. His legacy of broad and deep democratic and developmental achievement is widely recognized throughout the region, and he has been declared a national hero in Barbados.

See alsoBarbados .


Morgan, Peter. The Life and Times of Errol Barrow. Bridgetown, Barbados: Caribbean Communications, 1994.

                              Anthony P. Maingot

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Barrow, Errol Walton (1920–1987)

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