Late educator was a ‘people’s person’

A people’s person with an endearing passion for the edification of people’.

That’s how the umbrella Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) today described the late educator and trade unionist Matthew Farley, who passed away at the weekend.

In a brief statement today, CTUSAB said Farley, who recently retired as longstanding principal of the Graydon Sealy Secondary School (formerly Garrison Memorial), had emerged as one of this island’s distinguished educators and had won the respect and admiration of many.

“As a teacher and principal, he was held in high esteem as a leader, disciplinarian and consummate professional,” the statement said.

It also noted that Farley not only served as former deputy general secretary of the Barbados Union of Teachers, but also as president of the Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools, and was a strong advocate for social justice, who vigorously represented the causes and concerns of the teaching profession, as well as fervently addressed educational issues.

“While his passing at this time is a significant loss to the nation, we can take comfort in the fact that he has made an indelible contribution to education and the work of the labour movement. The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados expresses its condolences to his immediate family, close relatives, friends and colleagues,” the CTUSAB statement added.

Retired Principal Jeff Broomes had developed a close friendship with Farley, which dated back 25 years. So close was the relationship that they saw each other as more than just professional colleagues, Broomes told Barbados TODAY this evening.

Therefore, he said, Farley’s death was painful.

“It was indeed very hurtful. We go back for more than 25 years. We have travelled together to New Orleans, San Antonio and we have always worked together, interacted and shared ideas. Some people did not understand where we were coming from up to this day. I have never called him ‘Mathew’ and he has never called me ‘Jeff’; we have always referred to each other as brothers.” Broomes said.

The former Parkinson Principal added that his colleague’s passing had left a void in Barbados’ education, which would not be easily filled.

“I think Barbados as a country, Barbados education and I as a person, will be weaker as a result of Mathew’s death. He was an outstanding educator who chose to operate outside of the box. He did what was best for our children; he did what was best for our profession and our country. I will miss him for a long time,” he added. 

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