STATEMENT – The Saint Lucia Party mourns the loss of Elijah Greenidge who died on Wednesday, June 25 at the age of 70.
Not once when duty called did he ever waver. Procrastination was never his style and he seemed to thrive on adversity. No mountain was too high to climb, no valley to deep to venture into, and no ocean too wide to cross over.
Where lesser men saw despair, Elijah Greenidge saw opportunity. His faith in God was resolute and that, more than anything else, may explain his determination to make a difference, whether as preacher, trade unionist, philanthropist or politician.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party has lost a loyal soldier. But Elijah Greenidge was not simply a member of this Party. He was its best friend. He stood with it through thick and thin. Indeed, during the Party’s darkest hours, Elijah was there to shine his light, his bright smile and booming voice – a source of inspiration for those who had lost hope. And dark times it was for Labour leading up to the 1982 General Elections.
When others shied away, Elijah raised his hands and asked to be counted. When it was clear even to the most battle-hardened Labourite that the 1982 General Elections was a lost cause Elijah insisted, no demanded, that he be a candidate. It did not matter to him that he was very likely to lose his deposit. It did not matter to him that personal humiliation was a very real possibility. And it certainly did not matter to him that he was likely to be victimised. No, what really mattered to Elijah was that his beloved Labour Party had to be on ballot, not just because of the 1982 elections, but instead for future generations.
Elijah was insistent that a Party as great as ours would never surrender without a fight. And fight for Labour he did. His courage in 1982 resulted in Labour staying alive and five years later almost wresting power from the United Workers Party: The proverbial sphinx rising from the ashes.
And unlike many an opportunist, Elijah asked for nothing material in return. He wanted no money and no position. All he wanted was for Labour to be returned to government for as far as he was concerned the marginalised and disposed could only progress with Labour at the helm.
It was the poor and indigent for whom Elijah lived his life. Even when he operated his business establishment it was not uncommon for him to forgive the debts of those who couldn’t repay him.
He smiled broadly and laughed loudly when Labour was swept into office in 1997. He considered it the culmination of all he had fought for all these years. “Finally”, he said to Political Leader Kenny Anthony, “after 15 years of suffering the poor people of Saint Lucia have a government which will see after them. My work is done.”
In reality his work was never done and until the very end Elijah remained a loyal soldier, working tirelessly for the party he so loved.
Goodbye Comrade. It was Alexis De Tocqueville who said, “Remember that life is neither pain nor pleasure; it is serious business, to be entered upon with courage and in a spirit of self-sacrifice.” Elijah Greenidge did that and more!
Farewell Elijah, go now to help prepare a place for those you served so nobly and for so long on this fair land of ours.
To his wife Karleen, and their three children, we thank you for sharing Elijah with us. We extend our sincerest condolences to you during this time of sorrow. We assure you that the Party Elijah loved so much loved him equally and stands ready to assist during this period of bereavement.
Rest in peace: Comrade Elijah Greenidge.