Errol Barrow Day
Errol Walton Barrow was the first Prime Minister of Barbados. He was also a Caribbean statesman who helped lead his country to independence from the UK. In 1987, he died suddenly, and two years later, Errol Barrow Day was declared as a public holiday to honor him and his achievements.
In 1989, his portrait was also placed on the new Barbadian dollar note. Because this day is a public holiday in Barbados, most businesses, banks, and government offices are closed for the day. Transportation in the country may also be running on a reduced holiday schedule. This holiday is observed on January 21st each year.
The History of Errol Barrow Day
Errol Walton Barrow was born on January 21, 1920, in Saint Lucy, Barbados. He served in the Royal Air Force during WWII and flew in over 40 bombing missions across Europe. After his service, he went on to earn his law degree in England before returning home to Barbados.
In 1951, he began his political career and was elected as a member of parliament for the Barbados Labour Party. Three years later, he became a founding member of the Democratic Labour Party and became its leader in 1958. In 1961, he became Premier of Barbados.
Barrow worked in the movement for independence, and on November 30, 1966, after Barbados achieved independence from the United Kingdom, he became the first Prime Minister. He is credited with introducing National Insurance, free education, and an expansion of the tourism sector during his term.
In 1976, after two terms as Prime Minister, he lost the election. He became Prime Minister again in 1986 but ended up dying suddenly on June 1, 1987. Two years later, to honor his achievements, Errol Barrow Day was created.
Observing Errol Barrow Day
As stated earlier, most banks, businesses, and government offices are closed on this day. There are also usually celebrations held around Barbados, with official ones often being held in Barclays Park.