October 22, 1942 – Rolston Lushington Barthley was born to Mr. Alpheus Barthley of Newfield and Ms. Alexandrina Greene of Christian Hill. Rolston’s formative years were spent in Newfield Village followed by the Willis Freeman (popularly known as Ras Feeeman) Estate; his adulting years on Matthews Road, All Saints with wife Zona (from All Saints) raising their six children.
Rolston attended the Newfield Primary School and Princess Margaret School for his primary and secondary education respectively. He gained his professional certification, a Diploma in Insurance Management in his specialty field from London School of Insurance. In 1997 in recognition of his outstanding contributions he was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from Hawthorne University.
Mr. Barthley started his professional life as an Office Clerk in the Accounts Department of The Clarence Johnson Construction before moving on to First Federation Life Insurance Company (FFLI)C in 1966 where he served as salesman from 1966 to 69; then district manager from 1969 to 1976. By then, because of the nationalisation of the Parent Company in Guyana, the branch in Antigua went into voluntary liquidation. The status provided the opportunity for Mr. Barthley to lead the eventual acquisition of the assets and client base of liquidated FFLIC with the support of the government.
The successful negotiations coupled with an EC$100,000 injection by Central Government resulted in the opening of the first, domestically owned insurance company in Antigua in 1977, as a department of Government.
Overtime, under Barthley’s erudite leadership style, State Insurance morphed from a department of government into a statutory body by 1986, cornering one-fifth of all the non-life insurance business in a market with several longstanding branches of overseas based insurance companies. State Insurance worked along with Hadeed Motors at the time to support the expansion of the taxi services by offering packages that allowed for payment plans. The strategic moves by State Insurance included extending property insurance coverage to wooden homes normally not covered.
The vision of Rolston Barthley and his management team at State Insurance contributed significantly to more attractive offerings to the consumers of Antigua and Barbuda. Under his guidance a cadre of insurance professionals were forged from the staff of the Corporation. He served as General Manager of State Insurance until his departure in 2001.
In 2002 Barthley led the incorporation of the PIC Insurance Co. Ltd which he led until his death in 2005. He was also the first OECS National to serve as President of the Insurance Association of the Caribbean. For his outstanding services in the insurance industry, he was listed as a noteworthy insurance company executive by Marquis Who’s Who, a longstanding compiler of outstanding achievers from across the Globe.
Barthley’s service to his country extended beyond expanding the scope of coverage to a broader pool of the community. He served as Director and Treasurer of the National Development Foundation for more than a decade and as a founding Director of the National Mortgage & Trust Company Ltd. – the first wholly owned government company to build houses and offer mortgages to the citizens. He also served, for many years, as the Treasurer for the Anglican Diocese of the North Eastern Caribbean & Aruba and remained involved in the activities of the All Saints Anglican Church and the wider community.
A Rotarian, Barthley was known across the length and breadth of Antigua for his involvement in the work of the not-for-profit organisation: the volume of assistance provided and the expansive fundraising programs to support the community services rendered. He was dubbed a Paul Harris Fellow in 1987 and served as President of the Rotary Club of Antigua 1987-88.
He was a member of the St. John’s Mason and served as Treasurer for a prolonged period from 1990.
He died on September 25, 2005. He was posthumously award the Most Illustrious Order of Merit in 2007 by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.