Artist and former MP dies aged 88
Celebrated artist and former Minister of Parliament Robert Vaughn Barritt has died at the age of 88.
Mr Barritt, a former MSA and Saltus student, studied fine arts at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada, before returning to Bermuda in 1950 to work at John Barritt and Son Ltd, the family business.
However he continued with his artistic endeavours, creating a number of noteworthy oil paintings including his renderings of the civil rights movement on the Island.
He later donated three of his paintings; Theatre Boycott, Upstairs Right, 1959, Two Weeks Before Christmas and Government House 1960 and Descent from the Cross, 1961, to the Bermuda National Gallery. He said of his paintings in 2008: “I’m a painter of the three R’s.
“Not reading, writing and arithmetic. Rum, race and religion.”
Mr Barritt was initially “unsure” about politics — only joining the United Bermuda Party in 1972 — but was one of the few white Bermudians to speak out in favour of universal adult suffrage at public meetings.
He also joined an all-black basketball team in an effort to show his support for desegregation. Mr Barritt later turned his attention to politics, running as a UBP candidate in Pembroke East Central. In 1985, he was elected into the House of Parliament along with Lawson Mapp. It is the only time the area was ever won by the UBP.
He served as the Island’s Cultural & Community Affairs Minister, and was later named a UBP senator.
Reacting today, the Progressive Labour Party said in a statement: “The Progressive Labour Party would like to offer condolences to the family of the late Robert Barritt, a former Minister of Cultural and Community Affairs, Pembroke East Central MP, and UBP Senator.
“Mr Barritt, the uncle of former Parliamentarian John Barritt, also contributed to Bermuda’s social consciousness by participating in efforts supporting desegregation, and speaking out in favour of Universal Adult Suffrage. May his family be comforted by their memories during this difficult time.”
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