Glenroy Straughn: A Tribute
The passing of Comrade Glenroy Straughn, means that a bright light in our Caribbean Nation has been extinguished. To the Mahogany Coconut Group, Comrade Straughn was much more than a community activist; he was a freedom fighter and a resolute , unswerving defender of the poor and under privileged. His passing therefore leaves a perpetual void in national and regional affairs.
Comrade Straughn, as many have noted, gave of himself to many causes and was a leading light in the radical and progressive politics of the late 60’s and 70’s. He was an active member of the then Black Nationalist movement that predicted many of the problems with which the current political managerial class is confronted. We who remain committed to the eradication of elitist class base political direction, have citizens and comrades such as Comrade Straughan to thank for our enlightened views of society.
We recall when Comrade Straughn was assisting the beach vendors with their struggles to remain on the beaches. Without any fanfare , he gave of his time and energy in pointing out the many ,political and other obstacles that were being put in their path. At meetings with the vendors, he calmly instilled that in all struggles there must be discipline and sacrifice. He told the vendors not to express themselves in any manner that will give their detractors the upper hand. Those meetings revealed a level of racism by some hoteliers that clearly showed they were determined to cripple the vendors and in some cases, reintroduce private beaches.
On another occasion, while being a member of the then fledging James Tudor Foundation, Comrade Straughn was adamant that a building being sought to further the objectives of the organization, should be given to the group as Goodwill, for all that the people had contributed to the corporate class. He maintained that such a request was entirely justified and proper. This was long before the debate of reparations took root within our society. Although the goodwill gesture did not materialize, the group became very aware of the workings of the mind of this great thinker.
We are also quite aware that Comrade Straughn gave of his time and advice freely to many aspiring small business persons. Many of us will recall his knowledge of all things Barbadian and regional. There are many who know of his sharing of ideas and his desire to have the broader perspective on all progressive issues. Affable, pleasant with a witty disposition, Comrade Straughn always encouraged younger progressives to stay the course. He therefore leaves an indelible mark on those , whose fortune it was, to have known this outstanding patriot.
Indeed , it is the exposure to individuals such as Comrade Straughn , which propels the Mahogany Coconut Group to bring issues affecting the Caribbean Nation into serious focus. On his passing, we recommit ourselves to his high ideals of social justice and the rights of those who are daily trampled, in order to maintain a rapidly decaying status quo. We assure him that his work and vision were not in vain.
To his wife, outstanding educator, Ada Straughn ,and his entire family, we express our condolences on his passing. We proudly state: Well done Comrade !