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DLP COLUMN: Goodbye to our Prime Minister

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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This is an edited version of the eulogy for the late Prime Minister David Thompson, delivered by Hartley Henry, principal political advisor to Mr Thompson.
Over the last few days as all sections of our nation poured out their heartfelt sentiments about David Thompson, it became abundantly clear that they knew that his principal characteristic was that he was a humanitarian.
His time and interest were extended to both the great and small of our society. He lost no opportunity to attend the humblest of functions if he thought his presence would serve as encouragement to others.
Indeed, this public accessibility, which David Thompson afforded, helped him considerably in coming to grips with the everyday needs of all. In his just over 1 000 days in office he attended more private functions and events than any predecessor did in a full five-year term.
It was as if he knew he had a short time and lots of people to meet, inspire and motivate.
David Thompson worked at a frenetic pace! Had his journey not been cut short, he would undoubtedly have inspired more, motivated more and promoted more to join in the fashioning of a new Barbados – one in which there is one society, one people, one nation, all looking out for the other.
It is for these reasons that Barbadians became possessive of David Thompson. In tributes paid to him these past 11 days, he was not referred to as “the Prime Minister”; not even as “our Prime Minister”. We all said he was “my Prime Minister”.
Barbadians proudly owned him.
David Thompson knew where he wanted to take Barbados: a dream unfulfilled, a vision postponed.
All he really wanted was a little more time.
In his last letter sent to the constituents of St John he reminded them that “I am yours and you are mine”.
No wonder that on this day all of us are holding on to a piece of him. When we repair to the yard of St John’s Parish Church, we will inter his body.
With his burial a bit of every Barbadian will be committed to that cemetery yard . . . 270 000 pieces of us will be buried with David John Howard later today.
But his soul, his vision and the admiration we all feel for him will not be interred. These will live on and flourish amongst us all. The greatest tribute that every one of us can pay to his memory is to pursue and realise that vision of a better Barbados for all!
Therefore, be comforted, my fellow citizens and friends. For to know sorrow is to acknowledge love; to seek the face of God is to recognise our limitations; to carry on with hearts full of memories is to be wholly human; to heal, day by day as we must, is to build a bridge of love that will reach far beyond time, into forever!
May our dear, late Prime Minister find all the comfort we collectively wish for him, and may his soul enjoy the peace he deserves . . . beyond the river!
Goodbye, my friend, goodbye!!
* * * * * * *
The members and supporters of the Democratic ­Labour Party wish to express our deepest sympathy at the passing of our Prime Minister ­– political leader, comrade, father, brother, uncle, son and, most of all, a man to emulate – to his wife Mara and three beautiful children and his family.