The Hon. Lionel Seymour Craig, CHB
Former Cabinet Minister, Barbados
The Hon. Lionel Seymour Craig was a Barbadian politician and former Cabinet member.
Early life and education
The Hon. Lionel Seymour Craig was born on 13 February 1929 at Garden Land, St. Michael to Cuthbert Craig and Ignis Taitt.
After leaving school, Craig worked in many fields of endeavour before being recruited by cricketing legend, the late Sir Clyde Walcott, as an insurance sub-agent. Thereafter, he was appointed a full agent after which he went on to become a life insurance underwriter with the Canadian-based Manufacturers; Life Insurance Company where he quickly became a member of the Manulife Million Dollar Circle which placed him at the time among an elite in the region for high quality sales in the field of life insurance.
He is credited as being the founder President of the Barbados Life Insurance Underwriters Association.
He left the field of insurance in 1966 for a career in elective politics During his political career, he made a significant contribution to the island's political landscape. He was first elected as a senior Member of Parliament for the St James constituency in 1966 when there was double member constituency representation. After single member constituencies were introduced, he successfully held the St James North seat until vacating it to contest St Michael South in the 1986 general elections. He failed in that bid against Erskine (now Sir Lloyd) Sandiford and retired from elective politics. Craig served as a member of Parliament for 20 years.
Craig served as a Cabinet Minister from 7 September 1976 to 28 May 1986, he once acted as Prime Minister, and replied to the 1973 Budget on behalf of the Opposition in the House of Assembly. Craig was a prolific and energetic Minister of Housing between 1976 and 1981, being responsible for major housing developments at Haynesville and Bagatelle extensions, Ferniehurst, Rosemont, Wotton, West Terrace and Oxnards.
Honours and awards
In 2009, the award of Companion of Honour of Barbados, the country's second highest honour, was conferred on Craig in recognition of his outstanding contribution to national service.
Craig died on Sunday, 9 March 2014, aged 85. He was survived by Tracy whom he married in 1995, their daughter, and a son from his first marriage. He was predeceased by another son, Ricky Craig, in 2006.
His death marked the end of an era, having been one of the few remaining links with the founding father of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), Sir Grantley Adams. Craig was the last member of the BLP’s 1966 parliamentary group.