Sir John Andrew Connell, KA, CHB, QC
Former Senator and Diplomat, Barbados
Sir John Andrew Connell was a Barbadian lawyer and politician.
Early life and education
John Andrew Connell was born on 7 October 1936 in Barbados to Leon and Adele Connell. He received his secondary education at the Combermere School. He left Barbados in 1958 to go to London to pursue his studies. Connell worked as a bus conductor, in factories, in restaurants, all to finance a legal education. He was finally awarded a scholarship to Holborn College of Law, London University where he studied for the Bachelor of Law degree. He later lectured law full time at the Balham and Tooting Polytechnic during the day, and in the evening lectured at the Woolwich Polytechnic.
He attended Lincoln’s Inn and in January 1966 was called to the Bar of Barbados.
Connell was a member of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and served as an Opposition senator from 1976 to 1980. Appointed by Leader of the Opposition Frederick Smith in 1976, Connell's appointment was reworked by new Opposition Leader Errol Barrow following his support of the then Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Government's bill to increase constituencies from 24 to 28.
Prior to joining the DLP, Connell formed a political alliance with a group of like thinkers – the late Leroy Harewood, Calvin Alleyne, Glenroy Straughn. Together they challenged social and political issues of the day under the banner of The People’s Progressive Movement (PPM). When that failed, he was invited by a senior member of the DLP to join that political party.
In 1976, he unsuccessfully contested the St. Michael South East seat for the DLP, losing to Delisle Bradshaw of the BLP by 73 votes. In 19991, he unsuccessfully contested the City of Bridgetown seat for the DLP, losing to Billie Miller of the BLP by 61 votes.
He later served as Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations and ; Barbados’ Ambassador to Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru.
He served as a Justice of the Court of Appeal of Barbados for four years following that appointment in 2005 and was also president of the Bar Association in 2006. He also served as a Permanent Judge on the Human Rights Court for Latin America and the Caribbean.
In addition to his work in the area of law, he has also made an invaluable contribution to conservation. Sir John not only served as one of the first Board members of the Parks and Beaches Commission and later a Director, but also as Chairman of the National Conservation Commission which replaced it. He has subsequently been involved in activities related to the development and protection of the Caribbean environment; serving as President of the Caribbean Conservation Association (CCA) in 1974.
Honours and awards
In 2009, Connell was awarded the Companion of Honour of Barbados (CHB), the nation's second highest honour, for his public service and contribution to the legal profession.
In 2016, Connell was conferred the highest honour in Barbados; he was made a Knight of St. Andrew (KA) of the Order of Barbados for law and the protection of the environment.
Sir John was married to wife Mary Anna Lady Connell, and was the father of daughter Lachmi Ganeru Connell and son Dr Kwame Vikram Connell.
Sir John died on 28 March 2018 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Wednesday after he had been ailing for a while. He was 81.
|John Connell being officially knighted by Governor-General Sir Elliott Belgrave in 2017.