EDITORIAL: Nation mourns loss
For the third time in the past 25 years this nation has been plunged into mourning on the death of an incumbent Prime Minister. In 1985, Tom Adams left us after falling to a heart attack while at Ilaro Court.
Two years later, the Right Excellent Errol Barrow also succumbed to a heart attack. They both died suddenly and while we mourned their loss deeply there is an almost national personal attachment to the late Honourable David Thompson.
This country saw him growing up among us displaying the extraordinary gifts of eloquence of speech, sharpness of mind and a gift of affability which made him much more our dear loving Prime Minister than perhaps any other of our Prime Ministers to date.
His loss is therefore perhaps more deeply and widely felt and as we offer the condolences of our country to his grieving family and relatives, we recognise a common loss which breaks the barriers of political partisanship and testifies to our common humanity as Barbadians at times of national loss.
He truly belonged to us in a way unlike the two others who predeceased him. He did not have to travel to the cold shores of Britain to study and equip himself for public service.
He studied right here in the Caribbean among us and he knew as well as anyone the intractable problems confronting the region and he offered himself in public service to do his part in helping to solve them.
It is a powerful statement that Mr Thompson was totally devoted to public service. Although he spent several years in practice at the Bar and attained the high and honourable dignity of Queen’s Counsel, it was clear that public service through politics was his calling. He was the consummate politician.
In this respect, his life followed a path similar to that of Prime Ministers Adams and Barrow, both of whom also seemed more at ease in the field of politics than in their chosen professions, and like them, David Thompson was also driven by a passion for public service.
In a country where too many of our men have too little regard for family and its place in the social stability of the society, he set a fine example as a family man. A devoted husband and father to his widow Mara and their daughters, he publicly extolled the virtues of family life with the establishment of his Families First Foundation, and we anticipate that his foresight in establishing this foundation and his commitment to this ideal will become a major part of his legacy. Indeed, many of our young men who wish to honour his memory can do no better than to emulate his approach to family life.
Mr Thompson has been taken from us at an early time . . . . He was not yet 50 years of age, and had been Prime Minister for less than three years, although he had been a Member of Parliament for 23 years. He was first a Cabinet minister at 30 and his life should be a testament and an example to young people eager to enter public service, who may now be encouraged because he did not allow tenderness of years to be an obstacle to his ambition to serve his country.
During this time, as his family and relatives mourn their loss, we wish to reassure them of our prayers and heartfelt condolences from the management and staff of the Nation Group of companies.
As partners in the system of governance, we applaud and salute he contribution to national life of our fallen brother and national leader, whose entire life and time was devoted to the public service of our country. May he rest in eternal peace!