The mood was sombre as Barbadians paid final respects to the late Sir Courtney Blackman who lay in repose on Thursday in the Grande Salle bearing his name.
Public viewing of the body of the former central bank governor began just after 3:30 p.m. and despite overcast conditions, several Barbadians – from current Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Cleviston Haynes and Central Bank workers to family and friends – turned out.
The open-casket viewing for the late economist gave those who passed through the Courtney Blackman Grande Salle the opportunity to pay condolences to his family, a day before his invitation-only funeral service.
Sir Courtney, the first and longest-serving Governor of the Central Bank – from 1972 to 1987 – died in March at the age of 88.
In an earlier tribute, Haynes described him as a “giant in central banking”.
“His vision has been the cornerstone of the Bank since its inception, and his influence is still felt in many of our activities, both economic and social,” he had said.
As Governor, Sir Courtney presided over the bank’s transformation from a fledgling organization with five employees to an institution with a staff complement of almost 200. He oversaw the introduction of Barbados’ national currency in 1973 and was intimately involved in the July 1975 decision, based on the instability of the British pound, to tie the island’s currency to the United States dollar at a rate of two Barbados dollars to one US dollar, a peg that remains to this day.
Sir Courtney received the Gold Crown of Merit in 1982 and the country’s highest honour, the Knight of St Andrew, in 1998.
He is survived by his wife, Gloria Lady Blackman, and three sons. (SB)