Educators fondly remember their deceased comrade, St Clair Cox
St Clair Cox
Front Page
May 9, 2023
Educators fondly remember their deceased comrade, St Clair Cox

Retired educators and members of the trade union movement in St Vincent and the Grenadines are mourning the passing of former teacher St Clair Cox.

Throughout his teaching career, Cox was a staunch member of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU) and he gave many years of dedicated service to the teaching profession and his union.

Cox died at the Georgetown Smart Hospital on Friday May 5, after a prolonged illness.

Although he had retired several years back, fellow educators are saying that his death has left a void, especially on the trade union landscape.

Former President of the SVG Teachers Union, Joy Matthews remembers Cox as “ a staunch and faithful member of the SVGTU and also the Teachers Credit Union.”

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Saturday, May 6, Matthews recalled that Cox was “very unassuming, very quiet and also very detailed as well.”

“He listened very carefully, and if things are not clear, he would ask his questions.

“I cannot recall him ever missing a Teachers Union meeting.”

Apart from being dedicated, Cox also presented himself with a high level of professionalism, as far as the work of the trade union was concerned.

Matthews recalled that “regardless of his political affiliation, the welfare of teachers was always foremost.”

Apart from serving on the North Windward branch of the union, Matthews recalled that Cox also served on the SVGTU’s national executive, as a committee member.

“He was genuinely concerned as it relates to the welfare of teachers.”

Reflecting further Matthews said one of the things that stood out about Cox is that he always seconded motions during union meetings.

“Almost in all our minutes, Bro Cox will second the motion.

“Always. You can always rely on him.”

In terms of the Teachers Credit Union, Matthews said she believes that Cox was a member from the inception of the credit union.

Matthews, who is also a retired teachers said over the years, she and Cox had developed a good working relationship.

“He addressed me as sister Joy, and I addressed him as brother Cox.

“Within the trade union, we normally address our members as sister and brother, and he was one that kept that rule.”

Matthews further recollected that Cox attended all the summer workshops which the union held in conjunction with the Canadian Teachers Federation.

“When I served over the years, I can recall like for 10 consecutive years when we took the Canadian teachers to La Soufriere … rest assured that bro Cox was waiting in Georgetown to accompany us to La Soufriere,” said Matthews, as she also reflected on Cox’s disposition.

“I cannot recall a time that we saw him angry, whether times were good or bad, you couldn’t tell.”

She said even though he was ill, Cox was always contented and he never complained.

Mathews also remembers Cox for his signature cap and knapsack- two fixtures which he was seldom seen without.

The former SVGTU president said Cox was a teacher/friend/trade unionist/credit unionist and so much more and that he will be surely missed.

Another retired educator and former trade union colleague, Vibert Lampkin also remembered Cox for his many years of dedicated service to the teaching profession and to the development of the SVGTU.

Lampkin, who once served as the union’s first vice president, paid tribute to Cox when he spoke to SEARCHLIGHT on Saturday.

Lampkin recalled that Cox served as President of the North Windward branch of the SVGTU at one time.

“Apart from being a staunch and very active union member, Cox was also a very dedicated teacher,” Lampkin said.

“Most of the activities that we would have known him by, is as an activist in the teachers union.”

He said Cox was the type of person who would never miss a meeting.

“Whatever meeting, he was always present. Not only was he present, but he was also a person who would participate in all of the meetings,” Lampkin recalled.

“He would have his ideas, he would share them, and he would ensure that other members also participated.”

Lampkin described Cox as a jovial person.

“He had a kind of funny-ish, jovial way, and a lot of people used to come to meetings just to listen to him.

“In addition to him being a very serious staunch member, he had his lighter side.

“We belonged to the same branch and over the years we developed a friendship.”

Lampkin, who also served as treasurer and PRO of the teachers union, recalled that while Cox was a relatively long speaker, he never really wasted time.

“When he stood up to talk, Coxy would talk, you can’t hold him back.

“It is always a sad thing when one member pass away, whether retired or not.”

Lampkin said he believes the union has lost a very dedicated member.

“Coxy played a very important role throughout his teaching profession.

“He made his contribution and he made it well, he served in different capacities in the union, and he will be missed a lot.”

SEARCHLIGHT also spoke to Cox’s sister Annie Cox, who cared for him at their home in Georgetown during his ailment.

Annie said her brother was taken to the Georgetown Smart Hospital on Wednesday, May 3; he died on Friday, May 5.

She described her brother St Clair as a very quiet and caring person.

“He was always concerned about people and also about the community of Georgetown.

“If he saw young people on the block, he would always try to find out why they were not in school,” Annie reflected.

Over his many years as a teacher, Cox taught at several primary schools in North Windward and North Central Windward.

His last stint was at the Langley Park Government School before his retirement in 2008.

In 2019, St Clair Cox was one of 10 persons who were honoured for service to the teaching profession. St Clair Cox would have celebrated his 70th birthday on June 28, 2023.