Often portrayed by those who know him well as very erudite and politically astute, as well as one who brings a philosophical approach to most issues, Freundel Jerome Stuart still possesses that common touch that propelled him into elective politics almost 20 years ago and endears him to his St. Michael South constituents.
Born on April 27, 1951, and raised in the rural parish of St. Philip, a stone’s throw away from the familiar Six Cross Roads landmark, the quiet, unassuming intellectual credits his late mother, Eulene Stuart, with instilling the core values that have guided and sustained him since childhood. His father passed away when he was 9 years old.
He was educated at the St. Marks Boys’ and St. Martin’s Junior, Schools in St. Philip, before entering the Christ Church Boys’ Foundation School (now the Christ Church Foundation School) in 1960. There, he came under the tutelage and influence of his mentor, headmaster Lee Harford Skeete (Latin and Law), as well as teachers Gilpin Jones (Spanish) and Colin “Couchie” Reid (Latin).
However, it was his classics teacher and counsellor, Lee Harford Skeete, who had the greatest effect on him at school. Small wonder he delved into classical studies during his latter years at Boys’ Foundation and ever since thereafter. Indeed, such was the impact that Mr. Skeete had on him, that he resolved at an early age to pursue a legal career. His Law Chambers were named “Harford Chambers” after Lee Harford Skeete.
On graduating from Boys’ Foundation School, Freundel Stuart taught Spanish and History at the Princess Margaret Secondary School, where he again rubbed shoulders with school friends like Robert (Bobby) Morris, Anthony Wiltshire, the late Cameron Taylor, and others. He studied for and obtained a B.A. honours degree in Political Science and History from the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies in 1975.
He later re-entered the Cave Hill Campus, this time the Faculty of Law, and began studies which led to the LL.B. (Hons.) degree in 1980. From 1980 to 1982 he pursued the Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Public International Law also at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, before proceeding to the Hugh Wooding Law School to pursue the Legal Education Certificate.
Mr. Stuart was called to the Barbados Bar in 1984 where he practised Criminal and, later, Civil Law. He was admitted to the Inner Bar in March 2008 and appointed a Queen’s Counsel.
His interest in politics was piqued from the early 1960’s. This drove him to join the Democratic Labour Party officially in 1970. “This Party”, he said, “has always subscribed to and promoted the ideals and principles that I hold dear.” He has been a stalwart of the Democratic Labour Party and has functioned in various capacities and executive positions in the Party, including that of President.
He entered elective politics in 1994, in the St. Philip South Constituency when he was successful and remained in Parliament until 1999. He lost that seat in the elections of that year. He later switched ridings, and returned to Parliament after the 2008 general elections, which saw the Democratic Labour Party recapturing the reins of government with a 20-10 result. Prior to that, he served in the Upper House (Senate) from 2003 to 2007.
Since 2008, Mr. Stuart has been Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, and Deputy Prime Minister. He acted as Prime Minister from May 2010 when his predecessor, David Thompson, became ill. After Mr. Thompson’s untimely death on October 23, 2010, Mr. Stuart assumed the position of Barbados 7th Prime Minister.
Following the success of the Democratic Labour Party in the February 21, 2013 General Elections, Mr.Stuart once again assumed the office of Prime Minister and was sworn in by Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave on February 22nd. Over the years, he has supported many community organisations, including the Dayrells United Achievers Community Club and the Notre Dame Sports Club.
An avid reader, thinker and disciplinarian, he also lists poetry, classical literature and history as areas that consume much of the spare time he finds. Mr. Stuart is single and the father of one daughter, Julienne, who is a sociology graduate of the University of the West Indies.