• Today
    May 21

  • 04:15 AM

Journalists reflect on PM Thompson

Antoinette Connell in Chengdu, China,

Added 23 October 2010


A man to be admired for standing his ground even in the face of hostility. That is the lasting memory the late Prime Minister David Thompson created on Guyanese senior journalist Michella Abraham Ali during one of his visits to the South American country.  While on a visit to Guyana in 2009 Thompson told a press conference that he would not apologise for sending home Guyanese because they were taking up jobs that rightfully belonged to Barbadians. It was a direct question in relation to Thompson’s announced amnesty back in late 2008. He had given undocumented Guyanese in Barbados a deadline to file with the Immigration Department and warned that all those not doing so and those who did not have the proper documentation would be deported.  It was one of Thompson’s most controversial positions months into his prime ministership and drew bitter comments from some of his regional counterparts. “We [Guyanese] were feeling offended and a journalist asked him about sending home Guyanese. He said he wasn’t going to apologise for his decision because Guyanese were taking up positions in sectors that rightfully belonged to Barbadians,” Abraham Ali, a senior announcer/producer with National Communications Network, Guyana, told the Nation.  She was struck by Thompson’s less than diplomatic approach considering that he was in Guyana but thought that he was honest. “I certainly admired him for holding such a position in our country,” said Abraham Ali who is among 19 Caribbean journalists in China on a training programme hosted by the Chinese Government. Abraham Ali and the other journalists were in a reflective mood today upon hearing of Thompson’s passing. Betty-Ann Lazarus, the public relations officer with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, who has relatives in Barbados was in the island when Thompson won the election in 2008. “I shared in that victory and I could feel the joy of Barbadians when the party was voted in. As a leader, Mr Thompson won my admiration and I looked forward with great anticipation to how he would bring Barbados through global and regional challenges. I saw him as an individual who would soon put his stamp of authority on regional issues,” she said. Now is a time, she said, for Barbadians to be strong and for the Democratic Labour Party to carry on in the same vein of its former leader. “I felt their joy and now I am feeling their loss,” Lazarus stated.  Executive Editor Publications Jamaica Observer, Vernon Davidson said that the island was very aware of Thompson’s illness and two weeks ago it was the subject of a current affairs discussion programme on Radio Jamaica.  “It’s a great loss to the Caribbean given the fact that Prime Minister Thompson promised so much. His passing is particularly heartbreaking when one considers that he was only 48 years old, a very young man. The Observer extends its condolences to the people of Barbados and particularly to his family,” Davidson said.    antoinetteconnell@nationnews.com  


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