EDITORIAL: Farewell, Brother David
O, farewell, honest soldier – Hamlet 1, i
TODAY HIS WIDOW MARA, THREE DAUGHTERS, FAMILY, Barbadians, the Caribbean and the world bid farewell to the late David John Howard Thompson, Prime Minister of Barbados. A bright young man of outstanding intellect, who from an early age promised to be a fierce debater, a leader and indeed a statesman.
As if fortune dealt him a bad hand, not only was his assumption of office greeted with the perils of a dishevelled economic world but also to succumb to an illness, the cure for which remains today a severe challenge to world medicine, was unfortunate. We weep for him.
A leader of tremendous vision, his stewardship, aborted by misfortune, bore testimony to his high ideals and passion for a kinder world. His dedication to family life led him to create a ministry responsible for families. As if not enough, he determined that students should not be exposed to the ills of a transport service, befuddled by vice, unsavoury music and disgusting lyrics and decreed for them free travel on public transport. This was financially soothing to lower income families.
Respected by his constituents and loved by all Barbadians, his loss will be felt by supporters and opponents alike. Hence the tears of many as they paid their last respects to a slain hero, as he lay in state in the hallowed walls of Parliament, the nurturing confines of his alma mater- Combermere School- and the embracing atmosphere of St. John’s Parish church.
None of us can share the pain of his St. John constituents who loved him dearly and revered his presence as he made his way to rub shoulders and participate in political discussion at the counters of the neighbourhood shops and groceries. Such was the man. A father and mentor to the youth of St. John, a counsellor to parents and adults, no wonder he was able to dominate the politics of that parish as their representative for 23 unbroken years.
His influence as can be expected was not confined to St. John but stretched island wide. A lover of culture and the Arts, he could be found at football matches anywhere. His support for music was well known.
But it was his debating skills which no doubt caught the eye of the late Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, who not only brought him into his law chambers upon graduation but taught him the rudiments of politics and prepared him for future leadership of the Democratic Labour Party.
So well tutored was he that at the tender age of 30 he as entrusted with his first Ministry, that of Culture. The following year he was to become Minister of Finance, at a time when Barbados felt the pangs of an economic depression, fed by the greed of Middle Eastern oil magnates.
Undeterred and driven by his gift of leadership qualities, he piloted the DLP to a resounding victory at the 2008 polls and for many promised much.
Today we say,”so farewell then” and are confident of his response, “Farewell my friends, I go to glory.”
May He Rest In Peace.