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Former Senator Telator Strachan dies at 85

Telator Strachan, a former senator and a one-time leader among straw vendors at a time when their role was critical in the push to majority rule, died yesterday.

She was 85.

Strachan was born on March 25, 1933 in New Providence, but her roots were in Cat Island.

She was appointed a senator in 1987. In the late 1950s, she was president of the Straw Vendors Association during a time of civil activism with the winds of national change blowing strongly.

Her daughter, former Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin, remembered her as a “very independent person who came from a long line of strong Bahamian women”.

“She was really a very caring person and she was a part of the movement [which led to majority rule in 1967],” Griffin told The Nassau Guardian.

“She used to always tell us the stories about what happened as a straw vendor downtown and how the straw vendors were involved with the movement, so she was always one who wanted to safeguard history.

“She always believed in family and the fact that we are able to pass down the family history from one generation to the other and that is why she always ensured we had a family fellowship where once a month we met as a family. She loved her country, she loved her church and she loved her family.”

Griffin said her mother used to recall how Marguerite Pindling, wife of Progressive Liberal Party Leader the late Lynden Pindling, would run over to the straw market and seek the support of straw vendors during times when freedom fighter Milo Butler was being thrown out of the House of Assembly.

They would go over to Parliament to lend their support.

Strachan and her colleagues in the straw market sold sandwiches and cakes to raise funds for leaders of the PLP to travel to the Family Islands to spread their message, her daughter said.

Strachan was a licensed minister of the gospel and a member of Judaea Baptist Church.

She was also a PLP stalwart councilor.

PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis described her as a “giant of a lady”.

“I remember her as a quiet but determined presence in our council meetings and in planning sessions,” he said.

“She always brought reason but a fierce determination to any cause which the party advanced.”

Davis described straw vendors of Strachan’s generation as “a significant group of activists in the support of the progressive cause”.

“She was one of the late Sir Lynden Pindling’s armor bearers,” he said. “Whenever there was an issue in the market for decades, you could count on Telator Strachan to lead the charge to settle the issues. You could count [on] her to voice the concerns and to mobilize toward solutions. She was a good woman.”

Davis added that Strachan brought her talents to the PLP’s Women’s Branch and was widely admired by women across The Bahamas.

“…A great warrior has moved off the stage,” he said, while offering condolences to Strachan’s family.

Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin, in a Facebook post, described Strachan as “brilliant and articulate, ethical and wise and incredibly decent”.

“She was an advocate for the freedom philosophy of the Progressive Liberal Party, a political warrior. She caught the eye of the late PM Pindling who understood her worth to our national development and appointed her to the Senate,” Hanna-Martin said.

“She was one of our nation’s great matriarchs, hard working and old school in her values…I am grateful our paths crossed. She was for me a mentor, a rock solid support and a guiding voice.”

Strachan is predeceased by her daughter, Natasha Y. Strachan, who died two months ago.

In addition to her daughter Melanie, she is survived by her son, Wayne, and other relatives.

 

Candia Dames is the executive editor of the Nassau Guardian.
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