PM remembers Sir Lloyd’s ‘ever-gentle spirit’

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley issued the following statement on the passing of former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Sandiford.

Again, it is with a sense of deep sadness, that I say goodbye to yet another Barbadian nation builder, a true statesman – and without doubt a through and through gentleman of post-Independence Barbadian politics, Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford.

Sir Lloyd, who has been known affectionately across the length and breadth of Barbados as “Sandi” since the late 1960s, has had the distinction of maintaining a political career of more than three decades without a single instance in which bad behavior or the use of the robust language and colourful metaphors so common to Caribbean politics has been attached to his name.

Indeed, I recall the period of the early 1990s, during what must have been the most traumatic and dramatic period of his political career, when he faced strong opposition both within and outside his party over the economic (and social) policies that culminated in his virtual impeachment. Sir Lloyd never lost his spirit of calm and respect.

In fact, those who knew him well might argue that the only feature of his personality that could have possibly rivaled his ever-gentle spirit, was his capacity to take a position on any matter and remain resolute and unmoved, even in the face of the most unrelenting pressure. Sir Lloyd was what Bajans would respectfully describe as, “his own man” at all times.

Whenever I met Sir Lloyd he was always very gracious with me from a young Parliamentarian to my assumption of this Office. Indeed, I spent a long period of time with him just prior to the pandemic and he was passionate about our country and the need for us to do all that was necessary to keep it stable and unified.

Indeed in spite of his own challenges, he insisted on being present on that historic night of November 30, 2021 when our country formally became a Parliamentary Republic.

No review of Sir Lloyd’s sterling contribution to Barbados would be complete without tribute to his leadership of the Ministry of Education. His tenure as Minister of Education included the establishment of the Barbados Community College, an institution at which he not only subsequently taught, but which has changed the future of thousands of Barbadian young people for the better.

It is ironic that as I issue this statement, I am in China. Sir Lloyd demonstrated his magnanimity of character and dedication to public service by agreeing, having completed service as Prime Minister, to once again serve this country as Barbados’ first resident Ambassador to China.

Sir Lloyd was also a genuine and dedicated regionalist and as Prime Minister, he took the decision to take Barbados deeper into the regional integration process by signing on to the Grand Anse Declaration, which eventually led to the establishment of the Single Market and Single Economy.

As was the case with those political leaders who preceded him, and certainly those who followed, we did not always agree with his decisions, but it is certain that none of us can ever question the fact that his motivation was, what in his judgement, served the best interest of Barbados and Barbadians.

To his widow, Lady Sandiford, I say thanks to you and your family for sharing him with Barbados for more than three decades. The country mourns with you all at this time and I trust you will take comfort in the knowledge that so much of his life was dedicated to the selfless service of others. (PR)


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