He was Barbados’ first High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and served as the country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
However, when family, friends and loved ones gathered today at the chapel at Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens to say a final farewell to Dr Waldo Waldron-Ramsay, it was the humility of the man that rose to the fore.
“Waldo did not allow ever, his persona to race ahead of his personality. He recognized that all of the titles he won were just temporary,” former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said in paying tribute to the former attorney-at-law, who died on July 23 at the age of 88, with his wife of 60 years, Sheila, at his side.
“Raised at the Church of God in The Garden, St James, that person was the man in whom Barbadians were most interested. That is the man that would touch and influence the lives of Barbadians” Stuart added.
He had known Waldron-Ramsay for a very long time, having been a student at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus while Waldron-Ramsay was a lecturer there, and having later practised law with him.
Stuart reflected on the former diplomat’s love for his African roots and black history, and his ability to make people feel comfortable, and made it clear there was no way he would miss today’s funeral service.
“Me not being here today was out of the question. I had to be here,” he told the mourners, among them Director of Public Prosecutions Donna Agard-Babb, Hal Gollop, QC, Andrew Pilgrim, QC, and Registrar of the Supreme Court Barbara Cooke-Alleyne.
The relationship between Pilgrim and Waldron-Ramsay did not go as far back as the one with Stuart.
However, the two had known each other for nearly three decades, during which, Pilgrim said, he discovered a humble and amicable man.
“From the time I approached the Bar some 26 years ago Waldo welcomed me and my other contemporaries with open arms and was kind and willing to wave some of the wrongs that existed between us on the ladder of seniority in the Bar,” the prominent defence attorney said.
“There was something about this man. People feel that we overuse the words, humble and nice, but he was a man of stature and walked with great leaders [but] who never took himself so seriously as this profession seems to demand. He always had time for a little joke and conversation,” he told the small gathering.
Delivering the eulogy, former schoolmate at Combermere Dr Don Blackman reminisced on the lawyer’s younger days, stating that Waldron-Ramsay’s life growing up on a plantation in the 1930s was not easy.
“He came to be the man that he is because of the cruelty inflicted upon him by the people of this land we call Barbados. I don’t care who is annoyed about this, but the truth must be spoken,” Blackman said, adding that his longtime friend was a victim of racism.
“He was born at a time when there was no adult suffrage in Barbados. Black people in Barbados were treated like animals. He would speak to me about all the experiences he had as a child, where he was spat upon by white people.
“They mistreated him and he was not able to reach the height of his potential. They even lied on him and tried to make a mockery [of him] and the perpetrators must not be forgiven,” he stressed.
At Combermere, Blackman said, Waldron-Ramsay played cricket at the first division level “and he was a determined batsman who saved the school from defeat on many occasions”.