|Sir Lawrence Vernon Harcourt Lewis, KCMG, GCM, JP
Former Cabinet Minister, Barbados
Sir Lawrence Vernon Harcourt Lewis, GCM JP was a Barbadian public servant, politician, and former Cabinet Minister.
Early life and education
Sir Lawrence Vernon Harcourt Lewis was born in Barbados on 13 March 1932 to Lawrence and Marie Lewis. He received his secondary education at the Combermere School in Barbados.
Lewis was a long time member of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), serving as its treasurer on many occasions.
During the period 1992 - 1996, Sir Harcourt served in various ministerial responsibilies in the Erskine Sandiford-led Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government. He was Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries; Minister of Environment and Housing; and Minister of State for the Civil Service and Prime Minister’s Office. Prior to joining the Cabinet, Sir Harcourt worked in the Barbados Public Service in several capacities.
Regarded as a workhorse, Lewis is credited with having played a pivotal role in the birth of the Insurance Corporation of Barbados, having served as its first chairman in 1978 until 1981. Sir Harcourt was also president of the General Insurance Association of Barbados. He chaired the National Petroleum Corporation and resigned as deputy chairman of the Financial Services Commission after serving for a short time. He was also a leading light in the credit union movement.
Lewis was also instrumental in setting up the Barbados National Bank, and was its first Chairman and President until his retirement. The bank was subsequently acquired by Republic Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.
Honours and awards
Sir Harcourt was conferred the Accolade of Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in the Queen's New Year Honours 2010 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the financial and public sectors. He was also the recipient of the Gold Crown of Merit (GCM) in the Barbados Independence Honours 1992 for his contribution to the public service.
Sir Harcourt was married to Claudette Lady Lewis for 53 years, and they were the parents of two sons, Harcourt Andre Lewis and Larry Alexis Lewis.
Sir Harcourt was a former President of the Barbados Boy Scouts Association. In 2012, the Association passed a resolution to confer on him the title of President Emeritus.
Sir Harcourt was also active in the Methodist Church. He was an early member of the Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP), and served as a committed volunteer and Chairman of the BARP Golden Health Oversight Committee until his passing.
Death and legacy
Sir Harcourt died on Tuesday, 13 January 2015 at the Bay View Hospital, after a period of illness. He was 82. He was buried at the Summit Gardens, Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens, Barbados on Saturday, 31 January 2015 after an official service at the Bethel Methodist Church, St. Michael, Barbados.
For his contribution, the auditorium of the Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union headquarters at Belmont Road was named in his honour.