Prime Minister Mia Mottley today hailed former cabinet minister, parliamentarian, diplomat and trade union stalwart Edward Evelyn Greaves as a “good and decent” public servant and exceptional human being who was able to work across the political divide.
As the House Assembly paid tribute to Greaves with relatives sitting in the public gallery, Mottley said: “It is impossible to speak about Evelyn Greaves without speaking about his honour, and his integrity and his conscience. The Evelyn I knew was a good and decent man.”
The Prime Minister recalled that only last week she visited a road in disrepair which was to have been fixed 11 years ago in Jackson, St Michael. She drew on this as an example of something that “would never happen” under an Evelyn Greaves.
She told fellow MPs: “Evelyn understood his duty not just to party but to country and to other MPs no matter which party they served.
“That would never have happened under an Edward Evelyn Greaves because he understood that Government was a continuum and that we have a responsibility to Barbadians whether they voted for us or not to serve the needs of Barbadians.
“That was the man that I knew. That is the man I pay tribute to today and that is the legacy I want forever captured in this Honourable Chamber.”
Mottley said that the legacy of Greaves and so many others, was to carry out the duties of Government irrespective of political alliances. She said it is a legacy she intends to uphold.
“The bottomline is that is why we take decisions that may not always be immediately popular but which ultimately will be committed to putting this country on the right path.
“That is the tradition of Grantley Adams, that is the tradition of Errol Barrow, that is the tradition of Tom Adams and Bree St John and Erskine Sandiford and Owen Arthur and David Thompson.
“And it is the tradition I chose to stand under. Barbadians will appreciate in the long run, that while they maybe some difficulty in fixing a situation that what matters is the sustainable progress we make.”
The Prime Minister said a unique friendship developed with Greaves back in 1994 when, as a young Senator, she sat in the gallery of the House of Assembly.
She recalled the historic events of the 1994 No Confidence Motion against then Prime Minister Erskine (now Sir Lloyd) Sandiford and how Greaves had confided in her during that time. She also disclosed that she was with the Democratic Labour Party parliamentarian when elections were called that year.
Mottley told the House: “What is little known is that I was also with him the morning the elections were also called. [It was] a Saturday morning about 10 or 11 o’ clock and he turned to me and he said with his usual – and anybody who talked about Evelyn without talking about his smile did not know the man – with his usual smile that literally lit up an entire room he said: ‘This is your turn. Take it and run with it and I wish you all the very best’.”