Professor Eudine Barriteau appointed Principal of Cave Hill Campus
Congratulations to Dr. Eudine Barriteau STRAIGHT TO THE POINT By John Blackman
This article first appeared in the Barbados Advocate
This writer wants to extend the warmest congratulations to Dr. Eudine Barriteau, Principal Designate of The UWI Cave Hill campus. This is indeed a singular honour not only for the professor but for the extended family of Ellerslie, a Newer Secondary School.
Six years ago, the Ellerslie family dined at the Savannah Hotel to celebrate her
appointment as Deputy Principal. Eudine entered Ellerslie in the 60’s when the Newer Secondary was at the base of the pecking order of Secondary Schools. After the Common Entrance Examination, the Older Secondary received the top performers, students were offered bursaries at Private Secondary Schools, and the residue, usually with the lowest marks were sent to the Newer Secondary Schools within their catchment area. For example, Ellerslie had to admit the students from Deacons’, Edghill Girls’, Montgomery Boys’, and St. Stephen’s.
Eudine was a Grenadian who came to Barbados and settled with her mother in the Wellington Street area in 1966. Her mother Mrs. Barriteau, sold nuts in the bus stand, and washed clothes for families. Eudine would accompany her mother to the bus stand. She was a student at the St. Matthias Girls’ School and would prepare her home work under the street lights since her home did not have the luxury of electricity. She would also attend the River Road Church regularly at nights and prepare her home work in the back seats of the church. In 1968 Harriet Jones (of BUT fame) a teacher of the School discovered the potential in little Eudine. She persuaded her Principal Miss Smith to contact Cuthbert “Bert” Brathwaite, the Principal of Ellerslie Secondary for a place at the secondary level for Eudine. Bert Brathwaite agreed and arranged a test in Mental Arithmetic (a lost species in some schools today). Eudine aced the test and was admitted to the third form at Ellerslie.
Life was so tough, that she wore her St. Matthias School uniform for five weeks at Ellerslie, before she was able to buy the proper uniform for her new school Ellerslie. Four years later, she brought pride and glory to her new school Ellerslie by partnering Alfred Hoyte in the Secondary Schools Debate Competition, sponsored by the Bridgetown Toast Masters. The pair defeated St. Michael’s Girls’ in the Finals, and the lowly Newer Secondary Ellerslie, became the Champion School debaters in the country. Eudine harbours the highest respect and admiration for the entire staff of Ellerslie.
However, she has identified the late Alfred Trotman her mentor, and Yvonne Clarke-Forde, as the two who taught her to believe in herself, and who made personal sacrifices of giving up their break and lunchtime to give her extra tuition. She once visited Culloden Farm requesting a job. Eudine did not know that the gentle man to whom
she spoke was Prime Minister, The Rt. Hon. Errol Barrow.
A young lady with a vision and passion for the advancement of other women, she set herself the task of fighting their cause not only in Barbados and the wider Caribbean, but on the international scene. From the first population census, females always outnumbered males, but were treated as inferior. There were more boys’ schools than girls’. Furthermore, the two Sixth Form Boys’ Schools, Harrison College and Lodge offered the Science subjects Biology, Chemistry and Physics while the lone Queen’s College, offered only the Classics, Latin, English Literature, and History.
This explains why Dr. Dame Elsie Payne, the first female to win the prestigious Barbados Scholarship in 1946 could not study medicine, engineering, surveying or accountancy, but was restricted to two professions only – Teaching or Nursing.
It was against this background of the lowly placed female that Prof. Barriteau would take on the world with all its challenges. And what a scintillating and persevering success story she has unfolded before us!
From Nut Seller to Professor.
From Newer Secondary Ellerslie to University.
From Teacher at St. George Secondary to Lecturer at UWI.
From Wellington Street to St. Silas Heights.
From humble obscurity to the lofty peaks of intellectual and academic Excellency.
Barbados has always awarded the Principals of UWI Cave Hill with the highest National Honours. Consequently, Barbadians saluted Sir Sydney Martin, Sir Keith King, and Sir Hilary Beckles. This writer, being a very proud Bajan, is anxiously looking forward to saluting Dame Eudine Barriteau.