ACTING Commissioner of Police Harold Phillip added his voice to a chorus of condolences and tributes following the death of Laventille activist, peacemaker and father figure Hal Greaves, known to many by his alter ego “Uncle Roy”.
In a Facebook post yesterday Greaves’ son Dane reported that his father had passed away on Friday night. No details were provided on how Greaves died or if he had been ailing. He was 55.
“Family and friends, we thank you all for all your support throughout the years. Please bear with us while we try to come to terms with our loss. Blessings,” the post stated.
In a statement from the police public affairs unit Acting Commissioner of Police Harold Phillip expressed deep sadness over the passing of Hal Greaves “who since 2003 worked tirelessly alongside the police to resolve disputes within communities and as an advocate for peace and the value of family in building strong communities”.
The police reported he had died from an apparent heart attack at his Rushworth Street, San Fernando at about 10 pm on Friday.
Phillip described Greaves as a “selfless and committed ‘crime-interrupter’ who enjoyed mentoring the youth and serving as a father figure to young people living in areas deemed at risk. Highly skilled in negotiating peace among feuding groups in rival communities, Mr Greaves was instrumental in assisting the police settle a myriad of disputes over the years.” The renowned community peacemaker was a graduate of Naparima College, San Fernando, who later became recognizable nationally after appearing in a series of television skits known as Roy & Gloria for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In the skits he performed as Roy opposite Dawn Henry who played “Gloria”.
Greaves was also affiliated with the Hearts and Minds Programme of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) of the Police Service, which was established in 2005, to bridge the relationship gap between the police and residents of Laventille and East Port of Spain.
“The programme, with the support of Mr Greaves, proved to be highly effective and is credited with restoring general calm and stability to those communities. He had tremendous faith in the youth and believed nobody was irredeemable,” the release stated.
Members of the IATF described the late champion of peace as the “strong glue that united broken communities’.” Funeral arrangements for Greaves have been tentatively scheduled for Tuesday at the First Church of Open Bible, Ruth Street, San Fernando, at 10 am. He leaves to mourn his wife and two children.
Also yesterday Port-of-Spain South MP Marlene McDonald, in an i95.5FM interview, said, “his passing is indeed for me a great loss for our community”.
She continued: “As a matter of fact I was stunned. I was not even aware he was ill or anything of the sort. What I can say is that Laventille would miss a very good friend.
They would miss a partner, a father figure.” She singled out her community of Sea Lots and said she would have to go in sometime this week because he was someone who inspired and worked with the residents there “and they looked up to him”. She pointed out that last week there was a report of decreased crime rate in the area and she partly attributed this to his work.
“There is more peace in Laventille.
I can tell you that. In East Port-of-Spain I can’t tell you the last day I have heard of anything in East Port-of-Spain or in the Laventille area. And I can tell you part of that is the work of Mr Hal Greaves,” she said.
Former Social Development Minister Dr Amery Browne also expressed his condolences in a Facebook post. “Rest in Peace Hal Greaves. A better citizen and finer human being I have yet to meet.
Thank you for the thousands of lives you’ve saved,” he said.
Many people took to Facebook to express condolences on his passing.
Calypsonian David Rudder in a post stated: “RIP activist Hal Greaves. You’re looking at a true Trinbagonian hero.” The Hope Support Group stated, “It is with sadness that we announce the sudden passing away of Hal Greaves the son of ...Ruth Greaves, founder of the Hope Support Group, Hal Greaves a.k.a.
Roy (Roy & Gloria) will be greatly missed by many. He did tremendous work in the Laventille area among the youths and community leaders. Hal will be remembered as a fearless man of Faith, who would go any where in Trinidad to counsel, motivate and bring change to the next generation”.
Playwright Tony Hall wrote, “Hal Greaves understood that life is a play and that we can write our own script. The writing process is always tricky however. This is what he tried to show all of us. We will miss him.” Musician Wendell Manwarren stated, “Hal Greaves...what a loss...
what a man...what a Giant... working tirelessly for what he believed in his people...his community...his country...peace be upon him”.