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MPs pay tribute to Glenroy Straughn


Barry Alleyne

MPs pay tribute to Glenroy Straughn

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Former parliamentarian Glenroy Straughn spent his entire life trying to make Barbadians more alert to their pride and place as black people.
Along the way, he also devoted his life to helping the oppressed.
That was the feeling among Democratic Labour Party (DLP) members in the House of Assembly today, as tributes were paid en masse to the memory of Straughn.Straughn, 86, died last April 12.
He had served in the House of Assembly from 1958 to 1961, having taken over the St Joseph seat after National Hero Sir Grantley Adams became Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation.
For the special day in the Lower House, Straughn’s widow Ada, a renown educator and retired principal of the Alexandra School and his wife of 58 years, and William, one of his three sons, were invited to the chamber to hear the tributes.
“All of his life, Glenroy Straughn was working for those most in need,” the DLP’s Leader of Government Business, John Boyce, told the chamber.
Boyce noted that after a short teaching stint at his alma mater Harrison College, Straughn ventured to teach in Aruba, where he ended up organizing workers of the country’s largest oil refinery.
Boyce, the MP for Chirst Church South, added that it was Straughn who also brought attention to beach access on the West Coast, and was part of the original resistance to beaches in Barbados being privatized.
Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley said much credit should be given to Straughn for his commitment to young people, either as a member of the Green Room Players in the dramas, or as helping to raise the profile of Barbados’ Pan African movement.
“In an emerging Barbados society, he made a contribution that should be noted,” Lashley said. “He would have witnessed much of the oppression and evil in Barbados as a young man born in 1927, just ten years before the riots.”
He said Straughn would have followed in the footsteps of previous “freedom fighters” such as Charles Duncan O’Neal and Clennel Wickham, who started the Democratic League.Minister of Education Ronald Jones said that Straughn was a unique individual who selflessly gave of his time and effort to help any community group that wanted to make an impact on the lives of young people.
“Glenroy Straughn could not be pigeonholed in any way,” said Jones, who had first met Straughn in the 1970s. “I never felt he was partisan in any way. He was an amazing human being in so many ways. He had a real love for young people,” Jones added.
The MP for Christ Church East Central also noted that Straughn felt it was important for young Barbadians who had benefited from free education to always give back to their communities and, by extension, their country.    

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