Sir Cardinal Leroy Trotman, KA, LLD
Cardinal Leroy (Sir Roy) Trotman is a highly respected Barbadian trade unionist and former politician.
Early life and education
Leroy Trotman was born on 9 May 1944 in Bathsheba, St. Joseph in Barbados. He was educated at St. Elizabeth School and the Boys’ Foundation School. He proceeded to the University of the West Indies in 1965 where he gained his Bachelor’s degree in English, Economics and History. He later obtained his Masters in Labour Education from Rutgers University in the United States in 1976.
A teacher by profession, Sir Roy taught at several schools and was headmaster of St Anthony’s, a privately owned secondary school. He also lectured at the University of the West Indies for three years from 1977 to 1980 in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations. He further educated himself as a teacher between 1962 and 1971, when he became Personal Assistant to the General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union. This apprenticeship prepared him for the role of Deputy General Secretary in 1978, and from 1992 as General Secretary of the union.
It was at the Modern High School that Sir Roy ﬁrst became active in the trade union movement. Conditions there were far from satisfactory and he led the staff into the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), becoming the chief shop steward of the Union division. Sir Roy joined the Barbados Workers’ Union as Personal Assistant to the then General Secretary before he was appointed Deputy General Secretary/Director of Organizing nine years later. In these roles, he was largely responsible for negotiations, grievance handling, organizing and education in labour studies. He acted as General Secretary for eight months before his election to that position on 29 August 1992.
Nationally, Sir Roy served as a Member of the Lower House during the period 1986-1994. He is founder and President of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados, a position he has held since 1995. These contributions together with his contribution on a myriad of boards and committees as a Labour representative bear testimony of his drive and passion for effecting positive change in public service. This devotion was further extended regionally as he has held the position of President of the Caribbean Congress of Labour for two consecutive terms spanning 1989-1995.
Internationally, Sir Roy distinguished himself as the first black President of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), now the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC). He held this position for two consecutive four-year terms since 1992 and currently serves this organisation as a Vice President. He also serves with distinction as one of the Directors of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) where he was elected to and served as Chairperson of the Workers’ Group of the ILO Governing Body since 2002.
Honours and awards
He was made a Knight of St. Andrew in the 2002 Independence Honours for his outstanding service to Barbados, both nationally and internationally. In October 2006 during the University of the West Indies graduation ceremonies, he was conferred with an Honourary Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree.
Sir Roy is married to the former Margaret Reid and has two daughters,who are also UWI graduates Paula, (MBBS 2001) a medical practitioner and Lesley, a lawyer, (LLB 2006).