Sir Richard: A true nationalist
PRIME MINISTER David Thompson was “a quintessential Barbadian nationalist who, at the same time, had a deep appreciation of Barbados’ role and position in our region and the wider world”.
For this reason, says former Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Minister of Finance Sir Richard “Richie” Haynes, the late leader felt the need to preserve and develop the cultural identity of Barbados, and to ensure that any policies pursued would always place Barbadians in a position where they were in charge of their destiny and never alienated from the land of their birth by any process of economic development.
In this regard, said Sir Richard, who split from the DLP in 1989 to form the National Democratic Party and become Leader of the Opposition, Thompson saw the development of the youth as key to the accomplishment of his vision.
“He would have regarded the emergence of so many young people at the level of governance as [the] fulfilment of a dream which he held for so many years, and may well have perceived that the torch has been passed substantially to a new generation of politicians who are capable of securing Barbados for Barbadians in the future,” said the retired medical specialist.
He added: “In this context, one can well see how this commitment to the integrity of family, to the social development of our country, and indeed to the measures which he took to ensure that Barbadians were not disadvantaged by any process of immigration would all have fitted into this philosophy.”
Sir Richard said that Thompson first came to his attention in the 1978 by-election at a Young Democrats meeting in Quakers Road, Carrington Village, St Michael.
“He was on the platform speaking with authority and eloquence, and showing remarkable skill in the art of political speech-making.
“At one time he was inspirational, and another very devastating as he addressed matters regarding his political opponents,” said Sir Richard in a telephone interview yesterday.
“I’ve always remembered that speech because it seemed to me over the years that he was laying the foundation for articulating some of the major causes he has espoused,” he added.
Sir Richard said the death of Thompson is a source of profound grief and one can only imagine the pain being experienced by his family.
He said Barbadians should try to comfort and uplift the familyat this moment and into the future.
“On behalf of myself, my wife and entire family, I express my sincerest condolences to his wife, children, parents, and all the members of his family,” said Sir Richard.