So long, Sir Roy

Late jurist remembered for his passion for justice

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson headed a list of officials and dignitaries who today bid farewell to prominent jurist, academic and civil rights activist Sir Roy Marshall.

(Right to left) Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson, Former Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford, UWI Principal Sir Hilary Beckles and his wife Lady Beckles attended the service.
(Right to left) Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson, Former Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford, UWI Principal Sir Hilary Beckles and his wife Lady Beckles attended the service.

Sir Roy, who died on February 2 at the age of 94, was described as a man who loved people and believed in justice and fair play.

In a tribute to the late Sir Roy before the congregation at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Reverend Sir Wilfred Wood, who was the first black Bishop of Croydon, said Sir Roy made a significant contribution to improving the quality of life of the first wave of Caribbean and Asian migrants who settled in Britain following the Second World War.

He said Sir Roy used his extensive legal training to assist disadvantaged migrants.

“There were some immigrant organizations such as the ill-fated Campaign Against Racial Discrimination. There was also the Joint Council for the Welfare of the Immigrants in which I was involved. But it was a David versus Goliath situation. It was at this point that Sir Roy turned his attention to the plight of racial minorities in Britain. He joined a group of lawyers to campaign for legislation outlawing racial discrimination,” he told the congregation.

While saying he was unaware of his father’s involvement in those civil rights activities in the 1950s and 1960s, Sir Roy’s son Dr Anthony Marshall said he knew he had a strong sense of justice and fair play.

“At an early age my father had a social conscience. He was a kindly man, often sentimental. He had respect for the rule of law. He had love for humanity and above all, love for his family,” he said.

“Dad’s death has left an enormous void in the family, so too [in] the several institutions he brought to life around the world, particularly throughout the Commonwealth. This was a man of humble beginnings who enriched the lives of many.”

The children of Sir Roy Marshall (left to right), Dr Anthony Marshall, Liz Marshall and Susan Dunk.
The children of Sir Roy Marshall (left to right), Dr Anthony Marshall, Liz Marshall and Susan Dunk.

In his sermon, Monsignor Harcourt Blackett also lauded the significant contribution Sir Roy made to the improvement of racial relations in Britain, contending that he made a major contribution to “the development of civilization of love and peace”.

Family and close friends carrying the casket of Sir Roy Marshall out of the church.
Family and close friends carrying the casket of Sir Roy Marshall out of the church.

Among those who gathered to pay respects to Sir Roy were members of the judiciary, retired judges, politicians and academics including Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley, former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford, former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Philip Greaves, former Court of Appeal judges Sir Frederick Smith and Sherman Moore, and principal of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies Sir Hilary Beckles.

Opposition Leader Mia Mottley signs the book of condolence.
Opposition Leader Mia Mottley signs the book of condolence.

 

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