Stuart takes up the reins
Shortly after receiving the instrument of appointment from Governor General Sir Clifford Husbands at Government House earlier today, Barbados’ new Prime Minister Freundel Stuart spoke to members of the media assembled outside.
Stuart said he had just taken the oath of office, “the Parliamentary Group of the Democratic Labour Party having met earlier this morning and decided that I should become chairman of the Cabinet and next Prime Minister of Barbados, subsequent to and consequent on the passing of the Honourable David Thompson”.
He said the DLP and the nation were in a state of grief owing to “the fact that the Honourable David Thompson has been so critical to the public life of Barbados ever since his school days, but more particularly since the year 1987 when he got elected to the House of Assembly as the Member of Parliament for St John”.
Stuart said Thompson had rendered “inestimable service” to the public life of Barbados and contributed much to the enrichment of public discourse.
“Over the last few months, he has had some health challenges which he battled manfully, but of course those challenges overwhelmed him this morning at ten minutes past two and he succumbed to death.”
Stuart extended condolences to Thompson’s family and encouraged Barbadians not to “spend all of our time looking back”.
“He was the kind of person who believed that the future of Barbados was much more important than the life of any individual, including his life,” Stuart said of Thompson.
He said there would be an official period of mourning while decisions were being made on funeral arrangements.
Stuart said he had entrusted those responsibilities to Senator Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, in consultation with Thompson’s family, the Cabinet Secretary and the Cabinet Office.
Flags around Barbados are already flying at half mast.