Viewers from all walks of life
Hundreds of Barbadians flowed through the auditorium at the Democratic Labour Party’s headquarters today, paying last respects to Prime Minister David Thompson whose body lay in state there for eight hours.
By 9 a.m. when the casket was placed in the auditorium, the queue was already standing two and sometimes three abreast.
There were babies in arms, mothers and fathers holding the hands of young children, some disabled people assisted by relatives, people from all walks of life all patiently waiting to get a last look at a leader whose effectiveness in reaching society at all levels was clearly manifest by the diversity of people turning up to view the body.
Businesman Ibrahim Patel, accompanied by a small group of men from the local Muslim community told The Nation, “The Prime Minister was a good man to all the people of Barbados, and we came to show respect.”
Several viewers broke down in tears at the sight of the body, while others like DLP stalwart, 88-year-old Astor Watts would only sign one of the 16 Condolence Books on display, unable to bear the sight of a still, silent David Thompson.
As the doleful strains from the saxophone of Gerald “Seaman” Hunte filled the morning air in the spacious auditorium, members of the Royal barbados Police Force, the Barbados Defence Force and the Barbados Bar Association took turns doing 25-minute vigils around the casket while mourners filed past.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart arrived late in the afternoon, and constantly stopped to greet or console many who were standing around the grounds outside the auditorium, before makintg his way inside for another look at the body of the man about whom he said afterwards, “This is the first time that David Thompson and I have been in that auditorium together and David did not speak.”