|Robert William "Maas Bob" Griffith, OBE
National Hero of Montserrat
Robert William Griffith was considered the Father of Montserrat Labour Movement.
Early life and education
Born in 1904, Robert William Griffith was a Methodist and middle class, and his father was a manager on Weekes estate.
Griffith was the first to organise the poor, oppressed working class people into a labour movement in the early 1940s.
He had another first when in 1943 he was the first Montserratian outside the traditional merchant and planter class to win a seat on the Montserrat Legislative Council. Griffith believed in sub-regionalism, and it was with the assistance of Vere Cornwall Bird of Antigua that the Montserrat Trades and Labour Union was established and registered in 1946.
Griffith did not hesitate to use the strike weapon even if occasionally the warrantability was doubtful. In 1950 a warship was called in and he narrowly missed prison, but one doubts whether he would have bothered over that brand of martyrdom.
Honours and awards
In 1981, Griffith received the Award of Merit from the MAWU for his service to trade unionism. On St. Patrick's Day 1987, he was honoured in the Legislative Council Chamber when his photograph was unveiled. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1991.
Griffith was married to Edith Allen, a nurse. They were the parents of five children.
Death and legacy
Robert William Griffith died on 17 March 1996 - St. Patrick’s Day.
On 16 March 2015, Griffith was bestowed the prestigious honour of Order of National Hero for his sacrifices for the greater good of Montserrat in the area of Politics and Worker’s rights.