A final farewell to Sir Clifford
The pomp at the State Funeral for Governor General Sir Clifford Husbands may have been understated, but the service was befitting Barbados’ longest serving Governor General, described as a man of “dignity, integrity and exemplary character.”
Sir Clifford was appointed Governor General in 1996 following the death of his predecessor Dame Nita Barrow, and he retired in October of 2011. He passed away at his St James residence on October 12 at age 91.
Parliamentarians, diplomats, members of the judiciary and the legal fraternity, as well as business people, friends and ordinary Barbadians braved yesterday’s showers to pay last their respects. The flag-draped casket lay in the foyer of the St Lucy Parish Church where Sir Clifford worshipped, and it was later borne into the church on the shoulders of members of the Barbados Defence Force and the Barbados Coast Guard.
Acting Governor General Sir Philip Greaves headed the list of dignitaries at the 10 a.m. service which was also attended by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, members of his Cabinet and members of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party. Also there was Owen Arthur, the Prime Minister who appointed Sir Clifford.
The cortege set out from the Lyndhurst Funeral Home on Passage Road just before 8 a.m. accompanied by six outriders from the Royal Barbados Police Force, and travelled along Highway 2 A, past heavy outbound morning traffic.
It was the final day of the three-day period of mourning declared for the man who served Barbados at the highest level and for whom Canon Noel Burke said an “entire nation” was mourning.
“Sir Clifford’s life was marked by service,” Burke said while delivering a sermon in which he listed various posts held by the former Governor General before he was appointed to that post.
The many active and retired officers from the across the justice system who were at the funeral bore evidence of Sir Clifford’s contribution in this area where he served as Director of Public Prosecutions, Supreme Court Judge, Appellate Judge and Acting Chief Justice.
In his sermon taken from 2 Timothy, Burke intimated that just like Paul the Apostle, Sir Clifford had persevered, fought the good fight, finished his race and kept the faith.
The tribute written by Sir Clifford’s daughter Laura Husbands and read by family friend Brian Clarke, painted a picture of the family man of whom this daughter said the public he served knew little.
“Many of you would know him as Sir Clifford or maybe Justice Husbands or Mr Husbands. But to us he was Uncle Clifford, Dad, Grandad and to his friends Clifford or “Boozer” Laura Husbands wrote.
She noted the many hats her late father wore during his lifetime, his love for agriculture that saw him working the land as a pastime as well as his interest in his Governor General’s Agricultural Camp for young people.
The music Sir Clifford loved so much wafted over his casket in the voices of the combined choirs of St Peter’s and St Lucy’s Parish Churches and the solos sung by Barbadian soprano Amanda Fields and Carol Bishop.
A gun salute and the Last Post trumpeted by members of the Royal Barbados Police Force Band sounded as the late Governor General’s sleek casket was lowered into the grave in the churchyard and his children Anthony Husbands, Laura Husbands and Sandra Dawne Taylor placed their wreaths of white flowers at his head.
Sir Clifford was predeceased by his wife of over 50 years, Ruby Lady Husbands, eight years ago. (GC)