Sir Grantley H. Adams, Barbadian & West Indian statesman

Sir Grantley Herbert Adams, CMG, QC.

Sir Grantley Herbert Adams, CMG, QC (April 28, 1898 – Nove. 28, 1971), was a Barbadian and British West Indian statesman.

Adams was a founder of the Barbados Labor Party (BLP), and was named in 1998 as one of the National Heroes of Barbados.

According to Wikipedia, Adams was born at Colliston, Government Hill, St. Michael, the Barbadian capital, on April 28, 1898.

He was the third child of seven born to Fitzherbert Adams and the former Rosa Frances Turney.

Adams was educated at St. Giles and at Harrison College in Barbados.

In 1918, he won the BScholarship and departed the following year for his undergraduate studies at Oxford University, Wikipedia said.

It said Adams played a single match of first-class cricket for Barbados during the 1925–26 season, as a wicket-keeper against British Guiana in the Inter-Colonial Tournament.

Adams was married to Grace Thorne in 1929 at St. John’s Church. Their only child, Tom, himself won the Barbados Scholarship and attended Oxford to become a lawyer. Tom Adams would later be elected as Barbados’ second prime minister in 1976.

Adams was president of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) from 1941 to 1954.

While being a staunch supporter of the monarchy, Adams and his party also demanded more rights for the poor and for the people, Wikipedia said.

It said that progress toward a more democratic government in Barbados was made in 1942, when the exclusive income qualification was lowered and women were given the right to vote.

By 1949, governmental control was wrested from the planters, Wikipedia said.

It said Adams became the prime minister of the West Indies Federation, defeating Ashford Sinanan by two votes. (Sinanan went on to serve as Leader of the Opposition of Trinidad’s Democratic Labor Party.)

Adams served this role from 1958 to 1962; Barbados was one of the ten provinces of the West Indies Federation, an organization doomed by nationalistic attitudes and by the fact that its members, as British colonies, held limited legislative power, Wikipedia said.

As premier of Barbados, Adams’ leadership failed in attempts to form unions such as the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), and his continued defense of the monarchy was used by his opponents as evidence that he was no longer in touch with the needs of his country, Wikipedia said.

It said Errol Walton Barrow, a fervent reformer, became the new people’s advocate.

Barrow had left the BLP and formed the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) as a liberal alternative to Adams’ conservative government.

According to Wikipedia, Barrow instituted many progressive social programs, including free education for all Barbadians, and the School Meals system.

By 1961, Barrow had replaced Adams as Premier and the DLP controlled the government.

Grantley Adams International Airport, formerly Seawell Airport, located in Christ Church, Barbados, was named after the former Prime Minister in 1976.

A statue in honor of Adams is located in front of Government Headquarters at Bay Street, St. Michael.

Adams was buried in Bridgetown, Barbados, at the churchyard of the Anglican Cathedral Church of Saint Michael and All Angels on Saint Michael’s Row.

Wikipedia noted that the former home of Adams, located on Roebuck Street, Bridgetown, today functions as the headquarters of the Barbados Labor Party political group. Adams is featured on the front of the Barbados $100 bill.

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