Always a leader
THERE WAS no course at Boys’ Foundation School called “treachery”.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made that clear to people who criticised him for “not doing anything” during the months of July and August when he acted for the then ailing Prime Minister David Thompson who was being treated for pancreatic cancer.
Thompson died on?October 23 and Stuart succeeded him as Prime Minister of Barbados.
Stuart defended his stewardship as he offered thanks to the Christ Church Foundation School and Old Scholars, who held a service in his honour at Christ Church Parish Church yesterday evening.
To loud applause from the congregation, Stuart said the boys were taught history, English, Latin and the like, but not treachery.
With his signature dry humour, Stuart explained that he understood the role he had to play and that if he had left someone in his house for two months while he was overseas and as soon as he left they changed the curtains and rearranged the furniture, it would either force his early return or force them to have a chat on his return.
Stuart assured that he takes the role of prime minister seriously and, given the standards set at Boys’ Foundation, he would continue to be so guided for the rest of his life.
As a further example of his leadership style, Stuart said he grew up near Ragged Point Lighthouse and knows “how lighthouses behave”.
He said he had never heard one of them shout. “Real lighthouses do not shout, they shine!” he declared.
Stuart said the 1960s headmaster at Boys’ Foundation, Lee Skeete, instilled in him and the other boys that they should be leaders, and not followers. It was Skeete who also taught him the distinction between a leader and holding a leadership position.
It was also at Foundation where the “Latin god”, as he is familiarly known, encountered the late Colin Reid, who taught Latin. He said Reid instilled in them a life lesson that has stayed with him – not to take a decision, do or say anything they could not defend.
With those lessons, Stuart noted that teachers made a “profound mistake” if they assumed they did not affect their young charges.
Stuart said he had never coveted leadership positions. He argued that real leaders did not go in search of a position, the position found them.
He said he was “totally” prepared for the challenge of Prime Minister, and that he had been doing so from the age of nine when he entered Boys’ Foundation, the school which his mother chose ahead of Combermere, for which he had also passed.
Having walked the hallowed halls and with the experiences gained, Stuart said the only school he would want to go to if he had to do it all over again was Foundation.
The Prime Minister said he was at peace with himself and, quoting from St Paul, reiterated that he had never coveted any man’s silver, gold or anything else and that he would continue to do what was right, and not what was popular.
Several past Foundation scholars participated in the celebrations, including Archdeacon Eric Lynch, who delivered the address, and schoolmate, trade unionist Robert “Bobby” Morris who gave the tribute.
Cabinet colleagues Minister of Transport John Boyce, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, Minister of Education Ronald Jones, and Minister of International Transport George Hutson were in support.
Acting Chief Justice Sherman Moore, Queen’s Counsels Sir Richard Cheltenham and Sir Henry Forde, and President of the Senate Sir Branford Taitt were among the dignitaries and alumni.