Stephen Alexander, a former Grenada New York Honorary Consul General, died on April 28 after a short illness. He was 73.
Alexander’s very close friend, Derek Ventour, a leading Grenadian-born entertainment promoter in Brooklyn, said he died after a two-week hospitalization at Downstate Medical Center and University Hospital of Brooklyn.
A wide cross section of the Caribbean community in New York paid their final respect to Alexander on May 9, at a viewing and funeral service, at St. Vincent Ferrer Roman Catholic Church, 925 East, 37th St., and Glenwood Road in Brooklyn. His remains were cremated.
Alexander’s passion for current affairs, especially political developments in his homeland and the Caribbean, led him to freelance as a writer for the New York Carib News and a frequent commentator on the Bob Fredrick’s show during his tenure at WNYE Radio.
He had studied political science and sociology at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1976.
Alexander worked for the brokerage firm of Merrill Lynch for a number of years before moving to the New York Depository Trust Fund as a research analyst.
Although he was very much occupied with his career and community work, Alexander yearned to serve the country of his birth.
Therefore, in 1995, he assumed the Honorary Consul General position under the previous administration of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
But it was short-lived, as his service was terminated after only 15 months. Though it remains unclear what exactly led to Alexander’s sudden termination, it was widely speculated that he had fallen out with a top government official.
Stephen Walter Alexander, nicknamed “Spin Break,” for his spin bowling in cricket, was born in Grand Bras,St. Andrew’s on May 12, 1940.
He was the son of Veronica Alexander and William Thomas, and was raised by his grandmother, Lucy Bernard. They all predeceased Alexander.
Alexander received his primary school education at the Old Church Roman Catholic Primary School in Grenville, St. Andrew’s and was among the fortunate few to attend secondary school in that period.
He started his secondary school at the Presentation Boys’ College in St. George’s, the Grenadian capital, but returned to his parish to complete his secondary education at the St Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School (SAASS), graduating in 1960.
In the U.S., he organized the first SAASS alumni fund-raising event for his alma mater.
Alexander taught at the St. Andrew’s Anglican Primary School in Grenville before gaining employment with the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association.
In 1965, he pursued studies for a year in trade unionism at Canada’s Labor College; and, a year later, he migrated to the U.S., marrying the former Denise Shears on Dec. 23 of that year. He remained committed to Denise and their family until his demise.
“He was a great friend with whom I discussed many things of importance to the Caribbean community in Brooklyn,” Ventour said. “His views and knowledge on current affairs were always up to date. His contribution to his country will always be remembered for his many patriotic and volunteer deeds. May he rest in peace!”
New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, U.S. Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, Grenadian American Councilman Jumaane Williams and former Grenada U.N. Amb. Lamuel Stanislaus were among elected officials and community figures who paid tribute to Alexander through messages read and personally delivered at the funeral.
“Whether serving as Grenada’s consul general or uniting Brooklyn residents as a community activist, Stephen’s longstanding commitment to lifting up others helped make New York more open, accessible and just for Caribbean Americans and other immigrants in our city,” said de Blasio in a letter to Mrs. Alexander.
“I hope that celebrating his life brings you, Peter, Michael and your loved ones some measure of comfort during this difficult time.”
In noting that Brooklyn is the “proud home” for a large and diverse Caribbean population and that residents of Caribbean descent make “extraordinary contributions to our political scene, culture, economy, culinary landscape and way of life, Adams said Alexander was “a sterling example of the rich contributions that immigrants bring to our shores.
“Imbued with a deep sense of personal responsibility and an unflagging work ethic, Consul General Alexander sought to improve not just his own life but the lives of those around him both here and abroad,” he said.
Stanislaus, with whom Alexander worked at the Grenada Mission to the United Nations, said Alexander was a great loss to the Grenadian and wider Caribbean communities in Brooklyn.
“He was into the news and informed us about all the happenings back home, sometimes even before the information becomes public,” he said. “I was in the U.S.A. long before him; and, when he got here, he saw me as a senior elder, and we became friends over the years.”
Besides his wife, Denise, Alexander is survived by his children, Peter and Michael; seven grand children; sisters Jean, Maureen, Carrol and Margaret; brothers Carlton, Mervyn, Roland and Wayne; aunts: Joyce Lett and Sylvia Williams; and uncles Gogric and Alston Peters.