Principle over political party, and the greater good over personal wealth and success is what Barbados had in former parliamentarian Glenroy Straughn.
Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley, whose Barbados Labour Party Straughn represented in the House of Assembly, said she admired him because he was always “prepared to fight for the causes which he felt strongly about”.
“Mr. Speaker, it has often been said through the years that a man should try to become not a man of success, but a man of value and I think that that warning and adage perhaps best helps us to understand the life of Glenroy Straughn,” Mottley said as MPs paid tribute to the former social activist who died in April.
“His was not a desire to be the most successful or richest man, but a man who would seek to alter the circumstances of his neighbours, his friends, his family, his countrymen, those in the region and through the advocacy of ideas, the ability to organise and a pure heart that he would change the circumstances for the better of those around him.” Mottley said while he was a BLP member, it was clear representational politics could not contain Straughn.
“In a funny way, Sir, in spite of where I stand today I can also appreciate that representational politics could not contain Glenroy Straughn because representational politics demands also a discipline in the context of our part of the world of the party, and there are some people who simply cannot be contained by organisation, but whose ideas and whose passion must be allowed to run free,” she stated.
“I know what where of I speak because I have an uncle who is the same way and whose commitment to ideas and to people cannot be contained by any structure, any perimeter and that is the sense that I had always from interacting with Glenroy Straughn.
“I understood carefully that there are many ways to contribute to your society and to your people and what we do in here is simply but one, but not the only one and others will chose other avenues that give them that greater level of intimacy and support and freedom of thought because they act as individuals very often and do not have to carry the whole or to find a common ground for many people to stand upon.”
Mottley also said Straughn was worthy of admiration because he “was one of those men who was prepared not just to talk the talk in terms of advocacy, but also to walk the walk”.
“And that … is why for me his determination that he should be a man of value and a man whose contribution can now be praised by all was clearly not his objective but the consequence of his behavior and his actions.” (SC)