Clement Osbourne Payne

The Right Excellent Clement Osbourne Payne is regarded by some as the “apostle” of trade unionism in Barbados, urging workers to “Educate, agitate, but not to violate”. Known for his fiery, powerful speeches, Payne sought to educate the poor working masses on the importance of coming together and resisting the elite white planter class. (BGIS Library)

Sir Hugh Worrell Springer

The Right Excellent Sir Hugh Worrell Springer was the first General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) from 1940-1947 and was this island’s third native Governor General from 1984-1990. His long and distinguished academic career and public service mark Sir Hugh as among the greatest Barbadians of all time. (BGIS Library)

Charles Duncan O’Neal

National Hero, The Right Excellent Charles Duncan O’Neal, dedicated most of his working life to the poor. Although a medical doctor and a member of the privileged class, he agitated against deep-seated racism of the 1920s and 1930s, which the planter class perpetuated against blacks. (Portrait by Ishi Butcher)

Sarah Ann Gill

In the face of relentless persecution, including threats against her life, National Hero, The Right Excellent Sarah Ann Gill, continued to hold meetings for members of the Methodist church in her home.  She challenged the existing social order and is remembered for her courage, perseverance and commitment to religious freedom. (Portrait by Patrick Foster)


It is said that National Hero, The Right Excellent Bussa, also known as Busso or Bussoe, commanded some 400 freedom fighters against troops of the First West India Regiment during the rebellion of 1816. He was killed in battle but his troops continued to fight until they were overcome by superior fire power. The 1816 slave uprising was the first in the island for 124 years, the previous taking place in 1692. (Portrait by Akyem-I-Ramsay)

Samuel Jackman Prescod

The Right Excellent Samuel Jackman Prescod truly understood the ‘power of the pen’. As a newspaper editor, he wrote scathing articles accusing the planters of pursuing policies which suppressed blacks. Through the printed page, Prescod also sought to unite the free coloured, the apprenticed workers and the poor whites against the powerful plantocracy.  (BGIS Library)

Sir Grantley Herbert Adams

National Heroes Day is the birthday of The Right Excellent Sir Grantley Herbert Adams. He was born on April 28, 1898. Sir Grantley would go on to become the first Premier of Barbados and the only Prime Minister of the now defunct West Indies Federation. (BGIS Library)

Errol Walton Barrow

The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, often referred to as ‘The Skipper’ or ‘Father of Independence’, was successful in securing many social changes in Barbados during his tenure as Premier and then Prime Minister of Barbados. These included developments in education, health, social security and tourism. He also oversaw the island’s transition to Independence in 1966, becoming the island’s first Prime Minister. (BGIS Library)

Sir Frank Leslie Walcott

The Right Excellent Frank Leslie Walcott was known as a tough, dynamic and principled negotiator with a visionary approach to bargaining for improved conditions for the working population. He served the island’s first trade union, the Barbados Workers’ Union, for 50 years. (BGIS Library)

Sir Garfield St. Auburn Sobers

The Right Excellent Sir Garfield St. Auburn Sobers’ record of 365 runs not out stood as the highest individual test score for 36 years until it was surpassed by Brian Lara in 1994. Sir Gary made that incredible record in 1958 when he was only 21 years old. (BGIS Library)

Excerpts taken from the booklet ‘National Heroes of Barbados’ (1998). For more information on the National Heroes of Barbados, pick up a copy of our publication by contacting the Barbados Government Information Service at telephone number 535-1900.

Pin It on Pinterest