Sir Curtis V. Strachan, Kt, CVO
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives of Grenada
Sir Curtis V. Strachan, Kt, CVO was a former Clerk of the Houes of Parliament of Grenada and former Speaker of the House of Representatives of Grenada.
Early life and education
Sir Curtis V. Strachan was educated at the University of the West Indies in Public Administration and had further training in parliamentary procedure at the British House of Commons and the Canadian Parliament.
Sir Curtis gave 57 years’ service in the Public Service of Grenada, 44 years of which has been in the service of Parliament. He served as Clerk to the Houses from 1959-1991 and as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1995-2003. During his distinguished career he served in many capacities, including Secretary to Government, Clerk of the Executive & Legislative Council, of the Legislature. He also served as Permanent Secretary and then as Secretary to the Interim Government (Cabinet Secretary).
He held, for a long time, the office of Secretary-General of the Grenada National Secretariat during 1979-83, and served as Executive Secretary and Deputy Chairman of the Special Organising Committee for Grenada’s Independence, which was achieved in 1974.
He has been Chairman of many Committees, Boards and voluntary organisations – The Jaycees of Grenada, Carnival Committees, Government Tenders Board, Royal Visits to Grenada, Radio and Television Committees, and Chairman of the Methodist Men’s Fellowship. Trained by the BBC, he was also one of the pioneers of Public Radio Broadcasting in Grenada.
Sir Curtis Strachan upon his retirement as Clerk of Parliament in 1991 served thereafter as a Parliamentary Consultant, and was unanimously elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1995 and again in 1999. He retired from public life in 2003.
Well known for his advocacy of, and efforts at strengthening parliamentary democracy, and the rule of law, Sir Curtis has travelled widely in the Commonwealth, participating in numerous parliamentary conferences and seminars.
During the suspension of the constitution in 1979-83 when Grenada was under the rule of the leftwing People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG), Sir Curtis secured, by hiding, the maces of the Houses of Parliament, which reappeared in 1984.
He served as an expert and resource person at parliamentary seminars in Africa, Canada, Grenada and the Turks and Caicos Islands. He has the distinction of being the second of only two overseas Clerks of Parliament to have sat and functioned at the Table of the over 500-year old House of Commons of Great Britain. The Daily Telegraph of June 21, 1969 quoted “at the table of the House of Commons this week has been sitting Mr. C. Strachan, Clerk of Grenada’s Parliament and one of the most distinguished in the Caribbean. He is the first coloured Clerk ever to sit in the Commons.”
He is the author of two books; “Mainly for Parliamentary Freshmen” and “Assisting the New Member”, as well as several parliamentary papers: “The basis of Procedure”, “Ceremonial and Official Dress in the Legislative Council”, “Procedure in the Senate” and “the Public Accounts Committee of Grenada”.
In 1999 he served on two international organisations: The Standing Committee of the Commonwealth Speakers of Parliament as the sole representative of the Caribbean, the Americas, and the Atlantic Region, and the Chairman of the Speakers Conference for the same Region.
He was predeceased by Etheline Lady Strachan, née Robertson, and survived by children Richard Strachan, Carol-Anne Strachan, Michaele Hercules, and Arthur Wardally; and six grand-children.
Honours and awards
Sir Curtis was twice honoured by Her Majesty the Queen: in 1985 with the grant to him of the Dignity of Commander of the (Royal) Victorian Order, and in 1996 as Knight Bachelor.
Sir Curtis passed away on 26 April 2011 at the age of 86. He was afforded an official funeral Tuesday, 10 May 2011 at the Methodist Church Green Street, Grenada.