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Passion for politics

Gercine Carter

Passion for politics

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Acting Governor General Sir Philip Greaves and Prime Minister Freundel Stuart headed the list of mourners at the official funeral of distinguished Barbadian Sir Richard Haynes yesterday.
Parliamentarians from both sides of the political divide, diplomats, business people and ordinary Barbadians touched by the life of Sir Richard filled St George Parish Church for the funeral of the retired physician and former politician.
The turnout, which spilled over into the churchyard under a large tent, demonstrated the high esteem in which Barbadians held the man who, according to son Kashka, devoted his time to “improving the lives of the poor, the marginalized and the disenfranchised”.
Sir Richard’s son told about how much his father looked forward to and was stimulated by debate in the House of Assembly, how much he enjoyed representing his constituents in St Michael South Central and “the political positioning, the intrigue and the drama” of politics.
“He used politics as a vehicle to improve the lives of Barbadians. I believe my father reserved his deepest thinking and applied his greatest efforts to help to shape the ideas, policies and legislation that would lead to the betterment of the people,” the younger Haynes said.
“My father did not immerse himself in  hobbies or extracurricular activities. He really wasn’t one to be found liming with the boys, firing long rounds of drinks . . . . He was an intense and serious man, primarily focused on his work,” Haynes said in his tribute.
He said his father’s one passionate interest outside of his career choices was politics.
But while Kashka gave a son’s view of a father at home and in public life, Sir Richard’s friend and  colleague in the medical profession, Dr Oscar Jordan, recounted the late Barbadian’s life as a brilliant scholar and eminent doctor who brought the Queen Elizabeth Hospital “up to the level of a modern tertiary facility fit to become a teaching centre of the University of the West indies”.
He also paid tribute to Sir Richard’s contribution to politics, suggesting his debates with other prominent parliamentarians of his day were “historic” and should be “compulsory reading for young politicians.
“Despite becoming Minister of Finance in a Democratic Labour Party Government, Richie Haynes never achieved his political potential . . . The fact that Richie never assumed the highest office in the land, a position for which he was eminently qualified, really was not his loss; it was ours,” Jordan said.
With his voice breaking as he choked back tears towards the end, Sir Richard’s eulogist said the final chapter in the life of one of the country’s most illustrious sons had come to a close.
The burial took place in the churchyard. There was a musical send-off, with the Royal Barbados Police Force Band playing inside the church, before the start of the service, and providing accompaniment for the hymn-singing at the graveside.
Sir Richard died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital last week after a prolonged illness.