Statement from Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley on passing of Sir Courtney Blackman
Sir Courtney Blackman was, without doubt, a true Barbadian legend, patriot and pioneer, whose contribution to public life, anchored as founding Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, was always aimed at the fostering of economic growth for the upliftment of all Barbadians.
He lived for his country, whether at the helm of our premiere financial institution, leading our diplomatic charge at our mission in Washington DC, lecturing on the university circuit in North America or simply lending his voice to the national socio-economic debate after his retirement from public life.
It was truly a sad moment today for me when I learned of his passing at age 88 in the United States, where for almost two decades he lived, but continued to represent his country with distinction. That’s because Sir Courtney was family, friend and mentor.
For those who apply academic study to his life’s work, his greatest legacy will perhaps be his foresight in insisting that Barbados follow a fixed exchange rate regime at BDS$2 to US$1. That peg is responsible for much of our economic successes today.
He could do this because he was respected as an outstanding Barbadian economist, who also made a mark on the international stage as this country’s Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States, where he also served as Vice Minister of Trade at the FTAA negotiations from 1995 to 1998. He defended Barbados with every sinew, at every opportunity, and in every forum possible.
For this long and distinguished service, he was absolutely deserving of the award of the Gold Crown of Merit in 1982 and the country’s highest honour, the Knight of St. Andrew, in 1998. My expression today of this country’s gratitude for his outstanding service is but a mere token of what he has earned.
To his wife Gloria, who taught me French at secondary school, and his sons Keith, Christian and Martin, on behalf of the Government and people of Barbados, I say thanks to you for lending him to us for all these years. We will forever be grateful. May his soul rest in peace.