Profile of Sir Frank Walcott, Barbados Pocket Guide

Sir Frank Walcott (1916 - 1999)

He was born on September 16, 1916, in the parish of St. Peter. His father, who was a policeman, died when Frank was quite young and therefore he was raised in Bridgetown and attended Wesley Hall Boys' School.

A skilled mathematician with an unflinching personality, abounding craftsmanship and phenomenal debating skills, Sir Frank Walcott not only only led the way in implementing the many laws and practices for which Barbados currently has a reputation for but he was also very influential in his role as a political trade unionist.

Walcott was invited to join the labour movement by Hugh Springer and Grantley Adams who both led the Progressive League, which was formed in 1938. His potential and show of competence was so great that from January 1, 1945 he became an assistant to Springer who was also General-Secretary of the Progressive League. After March 10, 1946, he was fully employed by the Barbados Workers' Union and spent 45 years as an employee.

Sir Hugh left the union in October 1947 to take up the post of Registrar of the University College of the UWI and Walcott was appointed to act as General-Secretary on November 5 of that same year. On July 25 of the following year, he was elected General-Secretary at the Annual Delegates' Conference. His respect and prominence as a leader of the trade union was gained as a result of him understanding all too well that Barbados could not possibly progress at a meaningful rate, unless critical attention was paid to the growth and development of its work force.

He also served three separate terms as president of the Caribbean Congress of Labour, as well as serving in the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation and as Vice-President of the Executive Board of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. In addition to these posts, Walcott also served with the American Institute for Free Labour Development and was Chairman of the World Employment Conference.

No surprise was his decision to become a member of the Democratic Labour Party where he served from 1945 to 1966 and again from 1971 to 1976. A man who stood for social justice, his affiliation with such a party could only act as a catalyst for ensuring that his vision be fully recognized. A vision that saw all walks of life as worthy of suitable and acceptable work & living conditions. He also represented the people of Barbados in the House of Assembly and sometime later in the Senate as President.

During the time between these terms he served as a Senator, and was President of that body from 1986 to 1991. After Barbados gained its independence in 1966, Walcott served as the nation's first Ambassador to the United Nations. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1954 Queen's Birthday Honours.

Benefits such as The National Insurance Scheme and Maternity leave, are among the many achievements that were accomplished as a result of the dedicated service of this very great Barbadian.

The Sir Frank Walcott building in St. Michael, Barbados is named in his honour. Sir Frank Walcott has been recognized by the Barbados Workers Union, The Hugh Shearer School for Labour Studies and the University of the West Indies Cave Hill in a symposium held sometime ago.


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