Barbados bids farewell to Sir Lloyd

Barbados bid farewell to their fourth Prime Minister, Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford, as he was laid to rest yesterday afternoon at the St James Cemetery.

The state funeral began with a procession at Paramount funeral home on Hindsbury Road, St Michael, as it travelled through Speightstown on its way to St Peter Parish Church for the official service.

Barbadians lined the streets to catch a glimpse of their former head of state as his body was being transported. Scores of them tuned into the live stream online or popped up at the various satellite stations in Heroes’ Square, Graydon Sealy Secondary School, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) headquarters and the Speightstown Esplanade adjacent to the church, in order to pay their respect for his contributions.

People lined the streets in Speightstown. (Picture by Jameel Springer)

In attendance at the funeral service were President The Most Honourable Dame Sandra Mason, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, Deputy Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw, other Members of Parliament, members of the DLP as well as Sir Lloyd’s wife, Lady Angelita, and the surviving children, Inga and Garth.

Members of the Democratic Labour Party were spotted among the congregation. (Picture by Jameel Springer)

Presiding over the eulogy, Garth described his father as “ever the teacher” and noted three important lessons he learnt from him.

“The first one was sow a good seed and in a good season you will reap a rich reward,” he began. “My father was a man that was always sowing seeds for others, he sowed many seeds into many people’s lives through teaching and conversations. For the second one I don’t know why this one sticks with me but I think I understand it at this point in my life: A fault finder would find fault in paradise. Number three was the ‘greatest honour in life to serve one’s country’, which was something he was very proud of. Wherever he went in the world he served his country with pride.”

Lady Angelita Sandiford (second left) is escorted by son Garth (left) and members of the Barbados Defence Force. (Picture by Jameel Springer)

He added that his father was a man that seldom complained about anything in life, even when things were going badly and that was something he wanted to implement into his own life as there was always something to be grateful for.

The plaudits did not stop there as Mottley heralded Sir Lloyd as a “salt of the earth man” who served this country “with fortitude and with a commitment to duty above all else”.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley goes to lay a wreath. (Picture by Lennox Devonish)

She said: “Assuming office in the passing of a much loved national hero, the right Excellent Errol Barrow, who appeared larger than life then and probably still now, could never have been an easy task. Yet due to the nature of the man we honour today, he stepped into the role with characteristic calm and an acceptance that the mantle of leadership needed to be filled. He never tried to emulate his mentor in any way and I find comfort in the words before (during the previous tribute by Professor Andrew Downes) which said he was his own man at all times, in every way.”

Mottley, who has been Prime Minister since 2018 continued: “As a young Minister of Education, he was forever there with sound advice quietly and without any fanfare. That continued as a young Prime Minister and I say to you today that I value his advice. One of the last occasions that I went to see him was just before the COVID-19 pandemic and he said to me in every possible way ‘Mia keep them together. Whatever you do, keep them united’. I valued his sentiment, I valued his lesson and indeed in spite of the difference we shared, he was always, always there for me.”

Daughter Inga lays a wreath. (Picture by Lennox Devonish)

Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford died on June 26 at the age of 86 years old. He served as Prime minister from 1987 to 1994 but remained in Parliament until 1999. Sir Lloyd served his nation for more than three decades and has been hailed as the most significant post-Independence education minister.

His legacy will be the development of the Barbados Community College, Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and Sherborne Conference Centre as well as opening new primary and secondary schools. In fitting fashion, Sherborne, which was the island’s main convention centre, was renamed the Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on October 24, 2008.  (JC)

The final resting place of Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford. (Picture by Lennox Devonish)

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