Regardless of when or whether Barbados gets a freedom of information law, former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford intends to donate all of his writings and related documents to the Barbados Community College.
Sir Lloyd’s announcement of his planned action came amid calls at a book launching ceremony for passing of the long promised Freedom Of Information Act, and an opening to public scrutiny of all public Cabinet documents revealing reasons for decisions taken and actions by various Barbados Governments since Independence.
Former Member of Parliament Wendell Callender last night launched his book Prime Ministers Of Barbados at Almond Bay, and as a number of speakers commented on difficulties experienced by the author in obtaining information on reasons for positions adopted by the island’s seven Prime Ministers, they spoke of a need for the former leaders themselves to begin documenting their experiences in office.
“Information Act, with all its freedoms or not,” Sir Lloyd said in an impromptu statement, “I intend to dedicate my papers to an institution in which I have had great hope and great confidence. I intend to dedicate them to the Barbados Community College when I am sure they have some place to display them and make them accessible to the public of Barbados.”
Maintaining a spirit generated at the event for revelation of documents of Government and national leaders, Sir Lloyd, who led Barbados from 1987 to 1994, gave a peek at a reason for the fall of his Government in a parliamentary no confidence vote.
Speaking on stage after Callender presented a copy of the book to him, Sir Lloyd gestured to Senator Reverend David Durant and said: “The reverend senator on my left, in the deepest days of my political agonies, he made a very valiant effort to bring some healing and reconciliation to the then governing political party.”
The former Prime Minister, the only Barbados leader to lose a vote of no confidence, resulting in the fall of his Government in 1994, continued this previously untold behind-the-scene account of a scheduled meeting that was aborted by some who might have changed the course of Barbadian history.
“We met at a house one Sunday morning and certain persons were supposed to call for the intercession, and we were kept there the whole day without that materializing. And that effort at the eleventh hour for reconciliation failed, not because of a stubborn Erskine Sandiford, but because other things did not materialize. That is part of history; it is now part of the public discourse.”