Irene Sandiford-Garner is a modern Bajan success story. Irene was born in the United Kingdom of Barbadian parents, but she was raised in and is deeply committed to the rural parish of St. Andrew and Barbados. Despite her impressive list of achievements, Irene has always put Barbados and St. Andrew first. She spent the first period of her working life as a journalist, editor and columnist. She then worked for ten years at the country’s largest credit union where she was the organisation’s first and sole marketing officer.
Her aggressive recruitment and marketing initiatives saw membership move from 15,000 to some 50,000 persons during the ten-year period. It was during her tenure at the “poor man’s bank”, as the Credit Union was familiarly known, that Senator Garner was afforded the opportunity to assist in enhancing the social and economic condition of hundreds of Barbadians, both at home and abroad. Irene has been a key player in leading Barbados’ world famous tourism industry to new heights. She has been instrumental in orchestrating some of the major achievements of this sector. Within St. Andrew, she has been successful in facilitating the resettlement of persons from White Hill who were left behind during the previous Government’s initiative.
She has championed and agitated for various projects and initiatives including the re-opening of the Belleplaine Out-Patient Clinic after its six-year closure, the building of a footpath from the primary school through to Rocklyn to ensure the safety of the schoolchildren in the area, the implementation of a roundabout at Orange Hill, road works in several districts of this constituency. For the past three years, Irene has utilised the talents of teachers within her branch by implementing a free Saturday morning lessons programme for children from schools throughout the constituency who require specialised coaching. As a wife, and mother of two boys aged 24 and 20, Senator Garner believes that giving back to your community in the service of others is one’s passport to a meaningful existence.