Dr Frances Louise Chandler, OBE, CBE
Former Senator, Barbados
Frances Louise Chandler was a Barbadian agronomist, public commentator, and former Independent Senator.
Early life and education
Frances Louise Chandler was born on 16 December 1946 in St Phillip, Barbados to John and Maureen Roach. Her father started as a welder in a sugar factory before he was promoted to sugar factory manager. She lived in an area surrounded by cane fields and attended a small primary school in the countryside. For her Advanced Level examinations, she and another student undertook a detailed study of the cultivation of a sugar cane field, recording all operations from planting through to harvesting. It looked at the growth of the crop as well as the weed flora, and her overall examination results won her a Barbados Scholarship in 1966, one of the few females to do so at a time when only five were offered. She later pursued a degree in agriculture from the University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine Campus in Trinidad, and doctorate in crop science.
An agronomist since 1969, Dr. Chandler worked for the Ministry of Agriculture for 10 years, and later at the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) for nearly three decades, before starting her own consulting business where she worked to increase the efficiency of the persons involved in the production, marketing and distribution of food. Her work in the development of an onion industry for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean has been widely recognised.
During her lifetime, Dr Chandler recognised the importance of service to her country and on a national level she served as an Independent Senator from 2003 to 2013, where she represented the interests of the agricultural sector with vigour and enthusiasm. She also volunteered her time to many projects aimed at exposing young people to the agricultural field, notably the successful Governor-General’s Agricultural Summer Camp, established in 2005 and which she coordinated on behalf of the late former Governor General, Sir Clifford Husbands.
Chandler was a prolific writer on national issues, and often submitted guest columns to Nation publications, before having her own weekly column in the Midweek Nation entitled For What It’s Worth, from May 2013. Her last column, published on 13 February 2019, urged her fellow Barbadians to Nip Illegal Actions in the Bud.
In addition to her contribution in the field of agriculture, she was an advocate for good governance and her views on these matters remained the same, irrespective of her audience.
Honours and awards
Dr Chandler was awarded the Honour of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to agriculture in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2012.
In 2019, she was elevated to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her services to agriculture and sustainable development in the New Year honours.
Frances Chandler died on 23 February 2019 at her home in Fort George Heights, St Michael, Barbados. She was 72.
Her funeral took place on 7 March 2019 at St. Dominic's Catholic Church, Maxwell, Christ Church, Barbados. Her cremated remains were later interred.