September 12, 1934 – Adolphus Eleazer Freeland was born to William and Keturah Freeland. He hails from Potters Village.
Adolphus Eleazer Freeland began his Education at the St. Mark’s Primary School then attended the Potters Primary School shortly after it opened in 1947. He won a Scholarship to the Faith and Hope High School where he completed his secondary education. He earned diplomas in Trade Unionism and Industrial Relations in the UK, USA and Trinidad.
His early employment history includes seven (7) years as a Chemist’s Assistant and a Lab Technician at the Antigua Sugar Factory. He also worked as a “Cane Weigher”, a “Fly Lab Assistant”, and in the later stages as an Overseer.
Adolphus was a talented cricketer. In 1958, he was selected as a fast bowler on the Antigua Team, and later the Leeward Islands Team, all in the same year. He was the first player from Potters to play on either team.
Sir Adolphus was a member of the Leeward Islands and Combined Leeward and Windward Islands cricket teams from 1959 to 1968. He was known to be quite a menacing fast bowler. He is credited with being the first Leeward Islands cricketer to take 5 wickets in a first-class innings (two 5-wicket hauls). Adolphus Freeland consistently nagged at his opponents off stump with line and length deliveries and then produced vicious bouncers and devastating beamers to terrorize and eventually humiliate the batsmen of the era. He also served for many years as a Director of the then Antigua Cricket Association.
During the 1960s and the 1970s, Adolphus Eleazer Freeland was first a vibrant Sunday School teacher at the Potters Zion Moravian Church, and later the Sunday School Superintendent. He was also a lay Preacher within the Moravian Church; he preached at every Moravian Church that was established during that period.
Life as a lay preacher was not easy, but it was rewarding for young Adolphus who had to find any means possible to get to churches in places like Newfield village. On one occasion, Adolphus had to preach at Lebanon Moravian in Seaview Farm, but it was raining heavily in Potters. Adolphus spurred by Sir V.C. Bird Sr., who once said “… never let rain stop you from fulfilling your mission, because people are waiting and it might not be raining over on their side”, ensured he was ever present for his assigned pulpit. His experience on the pulpit was a key component for his successful political life.
Adolphus’ political career started in 1968 in the midst of the historical split that birthed AWU and PLM. He became the General Secretary of the Antigua Trades & Labour Union (AT&LU) in that very year and held that position until 1976, making him the longest serving General Secretary in the history of the union thus far.
Adolphus was also instrumental in the construction of the AT&LU Headquarters on 46 North Street. He worked tirelessly soliciting donations in the form of money, blocks and other building materials.
In 1971, he contested the general elections for the first time as the ALP Candidate in St. George’s constituency but was unsuccessful. He received 520 votes to Sydney Prince’s 707 votes.
In 1976, he won his first of five (5) terms as Parliamentary Representative for the St. George’s Constituency Antigua Labour Party Government. He served in the Cabinet as a Minister until his retirement in 1999.
Sir Adolphus Eleazer Freeland served as Minister of Labour in Antigua and Barbuda for 23 consecutive years (1976 – 1999), the longest serving Minister of Labour in the entire Commonwealth.
Adolphus Eleazer Freeland’s ministerial portfolios also included Health. During his tenure as minister of health the improvements to the national health care system includes
- Establishment of the Community Health Aide Program where Health Aides were trained to assist with the administration of Public Health;
- The Friends of Holberton Organization in 1976;
- The construction of the Spring View Hospital in Barbuda;
- The Tuberculosis (TB) Ward transformed into the Gweneth O’Reilly Ward;
- The Health Clinics built in Potters, Newfield, Jennings and Bishopgate Street;
- Radiology and Pathology Units completed;
- Construction of the Medical Benefits Headquarters on Nevis Street to include the initial pharmacy;
It is significant to note that in December 1980, Adolphus Eleazer Freeland was one of the five signatories to the Constitutional change documents at Lancaster House in London, England, which paved the way for Independence in 1981. The other signatories were Sir Dr. V.C. Bird Sr KNH., Sir Lester Bryant Bird KNH, Reuben Harris, and Keith Ford as Attorney General.
Adolphus Eleazer Freeland’s meticulous, strong organizational skills earned him the distinction of chairing the committee responsible for the organization of State and official Funerals between 1977 and 2004. He became affectionately known as the “Minister of Funerals”. According to the late Lloyd Luckoo, Q.C. in a congratulatory note to Adolphus after the funeral of Sir Ernest Williams, “Your organization and meticulous detail must have entailed tremendous work and care. I join with the entire community in saying – many thanks.”
He was awarded the Order of Distinction (Gold) Medal on November 2, 1998 at the Nations’ 17th Anniversary of Independence Ceremonial Parade. He was subsequently appointed one of the Nation’s Ambassadors at large in 1999 and served as special advisor to the Government on Industrial Relations. On November 1, 2008, Adolphus Eleazer Freeland was awarded the Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of the Nation (KCN).
Sir Adolphus Eleazer Freeland KCN died on January 11th 2014.S
1976 Minister of Labour, Home Affairs, Health and Housing
1978 Labour, Barbuda Affairs, Housing and Sanitation
1980 Labour, Barbuda Affairs, Housing, Surveys, Insurance and Co-operatives
1981 Labour, Central Housing and Planning Authority, D.C.A., Surveyors, Insurance, and Co-operatives
1986 Labour, Health, Medical Benefits, Insurance, Co-operatives, and Merchant Shipping
1994 Labour, Civil Service, Local Government, Management Services, Ecclesiastical Affairs, Co-operatives, Insurance, Human Resource Development, and Training Division
1996 Labour, Disaster Preparedness, Board of Guardians, Care of the Elderly, Local Government, Ecclesiastical Affairs, Insurance, Independence Celebrations, Social Welfare, Alliance for Social Well-Being, and New Work Experience Program