Servant: John Barritt Snr was the Speaker of the House from 1979 to 1989. *Photo supplied
Servant: John Barritt Snr was the Speaker of the House from 1979 to 1989. *Photo supplied

Tributes for the former MP and Speaker of the House John Barritt have poured in from across the political arena.

Mr Barritt passed away at his Devonshire home yesterday at the age of 98.

The United Bermuda Party stalwart was the last surviving member of the first Executive Council that was elected in 1968.

Premier Craig Cannonier described the former Devonshire South MP as a “community servant in every sense”.

He added: “He was by all accounts an excellent MP, always approachable and ever-caring; a man who looked after his constituents’ needs and the affairs of the country.

“In his time in the Speaker’s chair, Mr Barritt was regarded as a fair and wise man, whose calm and civil demeanour helped keep the lid on an often fractious House of Assembly.”

Mr Barritt was elected to the House of Assembly in 1968 and appointed Speaker in 1979, a role he served in for 10 years.

He was also the Member for Transport in two administrations between 1968 and 1973 as well as a Member for Marine & Air Services.

A spokesman for the PLP said: “The Progressive Labour Party offers our condolences to the family of former Speaker the Hon. F.J. Barritt, CBE, on his passing.

“Speaker Barritt served Bermuda as an MP for many years and sat in the Speaker’s Chair from 1979-1989.

“We would like to specifically pass our condolences on to his son, the former MP of Devonshire South Central, John Barritt, who continued on the family tradition of serving the Bermudian people in politics.”

Outside the political forum, Mr Barritt worked for Powell and Company Ltd between 1933 and 1970.

He was also the director of Bermuda Press Holdings for more than 20 years and a trustee of the Willowbank Foundation.

The keen sportsman loved cricket and soccer, was a licenced Reader for the Anglican Church as well as a champion of charities.

Cindy Swan from Project Action said: “F. John B, as I fondly referred to him, was Project Action’s first honorary director.

“He was such a humble man and was surprised that we wanted him to be involved with Project Action.

He was great and always willing to attend corporate presentations with us, usually knowing all the benefactors on a first-name basis and hence opened up a lot of half-shut doors for our charity.

“Bermuda has lost a true humble, gentle, big-hearted leader.”

Thad Hollis, chairman of the One Bermuda Alliance, added: “The Hon Frederick John Barritt, CBE, JP, was one of the best known and most respected members of the United Bermuda Party. 

“He was an intelligent, gracious and even-tempered man, whose calm, but firm grasp of the debate in the House of Assembly won him respect and admiration from MPs on both sides of the House.” 

Acting Governor Ginny Ferson on Wednesday said, “I was sorry to learn of the death of John Barritt Snr who devoted so many years of his life to the service of his country and community.  By all accounts he was a fair and gracious man, widely loved and respected.  I send my sincere condolences to his family at this sad time.”