Chief Archivist, Ingrid Thompson, receives a copy of the publication Notes of a Native Governor General: The Memoirs of Sir Elliot Fitzroy Belgrave, from author Alwin Adams recently. (J. Carrington/BGIS)

A memoir chronicling the life of former Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave, from a village in Boscobel, St. Peter, to Government House (now State House) was presented to the Archives Department to add to its collection of historic documents.

The book: Notes of a Native Governor General: The Memoirs of Sir Elliot Fitzroy Belgrave, penned by former Senator and Coleridge and Parry Principal Alwin Adams was presented to Chief Archivist, Ingrid Thompson, recently.

The retired educator said the book “unearths the difficulties blacks faced in a society where they had no “social, political or economic rights”, as it traced the life of Sir Elliott who grew up in poverty in the village “behind God’s back”.

Undeterred by his circumstance, Sir Elliot’s story, Mr. Adams added, could be summed up as from “rags to riches”, as Sir Elliot was determined to free himself from persistent poverty.

He stated: “From the craggily hills of Boscobelle to the spiral staircases of Government House and all the events in between…his education, his parents, the involvement of the church and all that came together to produce this man of humble origins to reach the pinnacle and areas of prestige and prominence in this country.”

Mr. Adams continued: “I think it is a story that needs to be told and I have weaved it all together through lots of conversations and interviews and the end product is notes of a native governor general.” 

The retired educator said it is hoped that Barbadians would get to read about the struggles and triumphs of one of “Barbados greatest sons” when they peruse the pages.

Mr. Adams is optimistic that students and the public visiting the Archives Department would not only get a glimpse of Sir Elliot’s life, but also the history and culture of Barbados in the early years, particularly Sir Elliott’s sojourn to the United Kingdom; the contribution of migrants to the economy, and his life as a public servant on his return to Barbados.

In the author’s note, the former Senator alluded to the importance of not relying on oral accounts alone lest we “run the risk of being reduced to a footnote of history, a passing blimp or an afterthought”.

Mrs. Thompson thanked Mr. Adams for “depositing” a copy of his book at the Archives Department, adding: “I am sure that it would be used for generations to come, in terms of doing research and being able to understand that historical context for example, of how our government officials lived and worked.”

The Chief Archivist said the book provided an opportunity for users to examine all of the history that existed in Barbados throughout Sir Elliott’s life and career.

Mrs. Thompson lauded Mr. Adams for his penmanship, and said it was a fine example of works that can be produced, utlising information and documents in their possession. 

Sir Elliott served as this island’s sixth Governor General post-Independence, from June 1, 2012, to June 30, 2017.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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