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Tributes to Chris Griffith

Yvette Best

Tributes to Chris Griffith

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Christopher Radcliffe Griffith is widely remembered for his 24-year stint as general manager of the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA).
Yesterday the hundreds who filled St Stephen’s Anglican Church and spilled out into the yard were introduced to Griffith the poet, boat-builder, sailor, hockey-player, singer, bird-watcher, guitarist and cook.
In a humorous, yet touching eulogy, Griffith’s nephew, Wallace, shared stories about the man whom he described as father at times, brother most of the time, friend all of the time and uncle full-time.
Family and friends smiled and laughed through the tears as Wallace shared Griffith’s exploits as the poet and boat-builder – which had to be the two talents with the shortest life.
Perhaps the story of the poet is the one that will be forever etched on the minds of those who witnessed Griffith’s final send-off.
The poem about the flower, which was written around 1950, is short: “There’s a flower in the tower/ it has no scent, it has no colour/ but it makes me want to holler/ that’s the flower in the tower.”
That last known submission from the former deputy chairman of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) formed the basis of the address delivered by a member of his extended family, Reverend Dr Michael Clarke.
Clarke told the congregation that faithful, spiritual journey of the avid reader began in the poem about the flower in the tower.
He asked mourners to ponder the underlying meaning and essence of the flower, the colour and the smell.
Similarly, Clarke said one had to ask what was man, without the colour and fragrance of the achievements of life.
He said that in order for people to discover whom they are, they have to come to a place of stillness in themselves.
“This is a journey not about destinations…. We’re constantly focused on where we want to go, how we will get there, what we need to do to get there. And we often forget who are we as we journey, what is it that God is bringing into our lives to remind us of who we are as we travel,” he told the gathering.
He said that despite all his achievements, Griffith had the desire to find out the essence of the rose under the flavour, colour and scent.Clarke encouraged people to do more than remember Griffith, to remember themselves and who they were in God.
Minister of Health Donville Inniss also gave an appreciation for the servant of the public, whose commitment to the upliftment of those around him, near and far, was enviable.
Inniss said when the history of waste management was written Griffith would have earned his right to the first chapter.
A virtual who’s who of Barbados paid last respects to Griffith who passed away at his home last Sunday at the age of 72.
The mourners included several members of the Lions Club of Barbados where Griffith was a past president, acting Governor General Elliott Belgrave, Chief Justice Marston Gibson, at least five Members of Parliament and past and present staff and members of the NCF board.