Statement from Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley on the passing of Dr. Erskine Simmons
On behalf of the Government of Barbados, I wish to express my sincere condolences to the family of Dr. Erskine Simmons at his passing earlier this week.
He lived a life in which he left no doubt about his passions, which ranged from medicine to politics, Pan Africanism and renewable energy.
In spite of the fact that we belonged to different political parties, our relationship was always warm. I never once doubted Dr. Simmons’ love of country.
His passion for politics was at its zenith when he represented the St. Michael South East constituency in the House of Assembly from 1986 to 1991; as well as from 1991 to 1994 in the Senate as a representative of the then DLP Government.
While Dr. Simmons would have also distinguished himself in the field of medicine over several decades, anyone who knew him would recall the warmth he exuded at the mention of anything related to renewable energy — and this was long before it became fashionable.
It was his second love, and the small wind turbine that spun for years above the roof of his home at Pine Plantation Road was a testimony to the fact that while others talked about its potential, he had enough faith to demonstrate it. He, therefore, deserves some credit for the progress Barbados has made on this front so far.
And if there is any truth is the saying that man is the sum of his experiences, then it might explain the intensity of his affection for and dedication to Pan Africanism.
He attended the University of New York, but a policy that precluded Blacks from studying medicine there at the time, saw him moving to Howard University in Washington DC to achieve this goal. His career in medicine then started at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 1971.
While his Pan Africanism interests saw him playing a major role in the international effort in the early 1990s to free Nelson Mandela from prison, even in his everyday dress Dr. Simmons told the world of the pride he held in his African roots.
I wish his family peace and comfort at this time of sorrow.