Barbados has had two prime ministers who have died while in office. These were two of Barbados' most notable prime ministers, being Jon Michael Geoffrey Manningham Adams, better known as "Tom" Adams (September 24 1931 - March 11 1985), and Errol Walton Barrow, PC, QC (21 January 1920 - 1 June 1987).
Leadership of Barbados by blacks can be divided into a pre-independence, and a post-independence period. Barbados has been an independent country since 30 November 1966.
During the pre-independence years, Barbados' heads of government were referred to as premiers. After independence these leaders are referred to as prime ministers.
Barbados has had three premiers in the likeness of Grantley Herbert Adams (1954-1958), Hugh Gordon Cummins (1958-1961), and Errol Walton Barrow (1961-1966). Six prime ministers have taken office since 1966, these include Errol Barrow, John "Tom" Adams, Bernard St. John, Erskine Sandiford, Owen Arthur, and David Thompson. David Thompson is the incumbent.
Three of the former prime ministers have died, but two passed away while in office. Tom Adams in 1985, Errol Barrow in 1987, and Bernard St. John in 2004.
Tom Adams has served as Barbados' second prime minister during the period 1976-1985 at the helm of the Barbados Labour Party. Elections were scheduled in 1986, and it is believed that Tom Adams would have won the elections, but he died while in office of a heart attack.
Errol Walton Barrow was also another Barbadian prime minster to die while in office. Mr. Barrow would have been prime minister during the period 1966-1986, and again 1986-1987 at which point he died.
What is interesting is that Tom Adams died just before the 1986 election, whereas Errol Barrow died just after the 1986 elections.
Politics in Barbados has taken a toll on the lives of our leaders because of the level of stress associated with the post.
Currently the incumbent prime minister David Thompson is battling cancer of the pancreas, and it is believed though heard to say, that he too will die while in office.