Had she been alive, the country’s only ever female Governor General, Dame Nita Barrow, would have celebrated her 100th birthday today.
She was fondly remembered in a special ceremony by her graveside in the Westbury Cemetery, as a leader, philanthropist, health care worker, teacher, mentor and all-round wonder woman.
Members of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), the Caribbean Women’s Association (CARIWA), the St Michael School Alumni, the Barbados Nurses Association, as well as some family members of the late dame, gathered to honour her.
Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, who laid a wreath on the behalf of the government, said she believe more needed to be done to recognize Dame Nita.
“I travelled to South Africa recently and I met a group of ladies who told me so much great things about Dame Nita. She was the most humble and pleasant woman you could ever meet and I believe more needs to be done to honour her legacy. I really hope that something can be done to commemorate her great legacy,” she said.
Sandiford-Garner added that she hoped Dame Nita would not be the last female to be named Governor General of Barbados.
Along with holding the prestigious office, Dame Nita was the first West Indian matron of the University College Hospital, Jamaica; the second woman in the nursing world to receive the Christiane Reimann Award, the International Council of Nurses’ award recognizing outstanding nursing achievement; and world president of the YWCA, among other accomplishments.
President of YWCA Tamita Griffith said it was an honour to be paying tribute to Dame Nita and urged all Barbadians to look at her legacy and history.
CARIWA president Marilyn Rice-Bowen also praised Dame Nita for being a graceful woman who left a great story behind.
“She will forever be in our hearts.”
Dame Nita, the older sister of the late Prime Minister Errol Barrow, died on Tuesday, December 19, 1995, after suffering a stroke. She was 79.