T. A. Marryshow

(Reproduced, with permission, from Caricom Perspective, January – June 1989)

            The Hon. Theophilus Albert Marryshow is known throughout the West Indies as the Father of West Indies Federation, having been an ardent advocate of closer association of the islands of the West Indies all his life, and having led campaigns in all West Indian Colonies with that object in view.  Born 1887, Marryshow received primary education at the St. George’s Methodist School; he started life as an office boy at the age of 16 in the then “Federalist and Grenada People”, and was its sub-editor and book reviewer at 19. 

            In 1915 he co-founded the “West Indian” which he later owned outright and edited until 1924.  Marryshow was a prime mover around 1905 in spreading branches of Literary and Debating Societies in the island.  The movement was adopted in other islands later. 

            After years of preparation in municipal life, he took a leading part in politics, and in West Indian affairs generally, with emphasis on the right of all West Indian people to elect their own chosen representatives in inter-colonial legislatures.  As a result of his persuasion, the then Secretary of State for the Colonies appointed a Commission which was sent to the West Indies to enquire into constitutional reform. 

            The report of the Commission was favourable, and as a result Grenada and the rest of the Windward Islands, the Leeward Islands and Trinidad gaining a first measure of representative government in the right to popular election on a quota of members to their legislative Councils.  Through his ceaseless agitation in press and on platform, there was steady constitutional development in the West Indies. 

            He was the first Deputy President of the Grenada Legislative Council, 1951 to 1954, and Member of the Executive Council 1942 to 1954.  He sat as Elected Member for the capital town of St. George’s since the inauguration of the new Legislative Council with elected members in 1925.  His unbroken period of service, thirty years in the same seat, was said to constitute a parliamentary record for the Dominions and Empire.  He had been referred to in influential quarters in Britain as The Elder Statesman of the West Indies. 

Marryshow died on October 6th, 1958