Opposition leader Mia Mottley has paid glowing tribute to the late Norma Holder, former principal of the Barbados Community College (BCC) who passed away early this morning after a brief illness.
Mottley, a former minister of education, described Holder as a dignified, gracious and humble lady, who was devoted to duty.
“Jamaican by birth, Barbadian by choice. She like many other Caribbean citizens of her time came to this country and committed unreservedly to the building of a young nation. Indeed, Mrs Holder can be described as a true Barbadian nation builder,” Mottley said in a statement issued this evening.
“Whether in her chosen training as a chemist, in her latter career as an educational administrator, pursuing her passion as a classically trained and accomplished pianist and organist or in her role as Chairman of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, she gave of herself always – and with grace.”
Mottley recalled Holder’s tenure at the helm of the BCC, noting that as the first female principal, she presided over the “almost trebling of the enrolment of our sole community college when requested to expand the institution.
“She crafted and shepherded into existence both the expansion of the Hospitality Institute and the Pom Marine Hotel at its present site in Marine Gardens and, thereafter, the Barbados Language Centre. She introduced Associate Degrees in all of the disciplines then offered by the College, and added new areas to meet our wider development needs as a nation, for example, physical education.
“When I issued the challenge to start offering full degree programmes she readily embraced and implemented the Bachelor of Fine Arts and the Bachelor Performing Arts within 6 months. Mrs Holder also created opportunities for thousands of Barbadians to attend evening classes to attain Diplomas in a multiplicity of disciplines.
“Her lasting legacy, however, for me as Principal was in her championing of the Accreditation and Articulation Agreements nationally, regionally and internationally. Mrs. Holder ensured that those who read for Associate Degrees as well as Bachelor Degrees at the BCC would find currency in both their trek to further education and the market place,” Mottley said.
The leader of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) noted that Holder commanded respect across the region, and her achievements were mirrored across the Caribbean during her tenure as president of the Association of Caribbean Tertiary Institutions.
“Aunty Norma did all of this and more, for I am only speaking from memory, while being a devoted wife and mother and doting grandmother,” Mottley noted.
Holder leaves behind her husband, LIAT Chairman Jean Holder, daughters Janet and Caroline, and her grandchildren.