Sir Patterson Cheltenham is knighted by Governor General Dame Sandra Mason at the 54th Anniversary Independence Day Parade & National Awards Ceremony at National Heroes Square yesterday. (E & R Brooks/BGIS)

Chief Justice Sir Patterson Cheltenham, the newest Knight of St. Andrew, has dedicated the honour to the working class, on whose shoulders Barbados’ society was built.

Sir Patterson, in describing his moment of being knighted by Governor General Dame Sandra Mason as “an emotional one”, said his mind drifted back to his deceased parents and quipped: “I told some friends of mine that I thought they were up there doing their version of a breakdance, but I know they would have been extremely proud, also my sister, my grandparents, and great uncles.

“But for me, at a much deeper level, this is about my early experiences and the backs on whom my generation walked when we receive free secondary education in 1962. I consider the knighthood, which was awarded, to be held by me in trust for the working class of Barbados, and in particular the agricultural labourers.” 

The Chief Justice continued: “They are the ones on whose backs I walked in 1962, when I received my secondary education at The Lodge, however, I made it to school, whether through Carrington Factory in St. Philip, or Four Square in St. Philip. I saw cane fields and agricultural workers. There was no enhanced tourism sector; there was no financial sector…it was all agriculture and I consider the award of the knighthood to be a sacred trust to be held by me for them. Without them, I do not know what would have been my existence or that of several others in my generation.”

Sir Patterson said the hard work of agricultural workers in building up the society had propelled him to service in Barbados, be it on school boards and now as Chief Justice.

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