Ralph Thorne: Prepared to serve
Family, God and the Golden Rule.
They account for the biggest influences in Ralph Thorne’s life. Couple that with discipline and love for basketball and you have the formula for a man on a focused life mission.
No one knows better than Thorne, a Queen’s Counsel, and the Barbados Labour Party candidate for Christ Church South, the effects his early years played in his life.
“When we were very young, apart from being forced to go to church, when we went to school we did morning assembly. It was the national anthem. It was prayers. It was a hymn. Our life was encircled by religion,” Thorne said. “It told you that there was an Almighty and you either believed it or disbelieved it. If you believed it that is called faith. That is a faith that I still have because I still believe there is a higher power and that has shaped my life in terms of how to relate to people.”
Along with his faith, it was also those early years at school that help to further frame the boy who would later grow into a man.
When I went to Grace Hill Primary School, that phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” was up on the board,” Thorne said. “I have always remembered that to this day.”
For Thorne, those words were more than a fleeting memory. Somewhere deep inside they imprinted on him the desire to fight for fairness and justice for people who are often disenfranchised and left without a voice. Perhaps those words led him to pursue a notable career in law. But these days they are forming a drumbeat for a higher purpose – a career in politics.
“I have this thing about fairness. I have this view that people should treat each other fairly. It is quite distressing to travel through life and realize there are a lot for people who deliberately treat people unfairly,” Throne said. “In my profession, in my politics you are surrounded by injustice. There is so much injustice in life you can lose faith in the every reason that you’re here and that is why faith it is important. It gives you a purpose and it can be an anchor.”
For this Christ Church resident who is the husband of Justice Jacqueline Cornelius and father of three, Thorne’s new purpose is making life in Barbados better, not only for his children, but for his constituents in Christ Church South and the country.
“I feel very strongly about local government. I think that people at the local level in communities ought to influence the decisions that are made to affect their lives,” he said. “I don’t think that in 2018 or 2020 a constituent should be going to a parliamentarian asking for a streetlight, and for his road to be paved. I think people in local communities should become councils that make those decisions.”
Along with empowering constituents, and the belief that politicians should come to the job with integrity, Thorne believes that Barbadians need a greater sense of awareness and personal empowerment, especially in the legal profession.
“Our Constitution needs to be modernised. I feel that our entire legal system is not sovereign. Too many lawyers and judges believe that a case is not well done unless you can quote an authority from Australia, England or South Africa. We were independent since 1966 but our legal system is not yet independent. I feel that it needs to be indigenized to a system that reflects our reality.”
One may call him a Barbadian nationalist, but Thorne is unapologetic in his beliefs in the power of his country and its people to be masters of their own fate. He touts the intelligence and creativity of its citizens, disregarding any notions that Barbadians are lesser because of our developing nation status or stronger because we align ourselves with foreign powers.
But overall one gets the sense that Thorne wants to help Barbados regain the values that once made it the gem of the Caribbean. The sense of unity in communities and within families, hard work, and a sense of pride that used to be our hallmark, instead of the corrosion of values and violence that is threatening to rip the country apart.
How does he plan to make a significant impact to Barbados as a politician without losing his touch with the electorate or himself? The answer for him is moral grounding.
“I know who I have been from the age of consciousness. I don’t think at this age I can become someone else. If I were to do something really dishonorable I couldn’t wake the next morning and face my immediate family here and my siblings and my mother,” he revealed. “That is because of the strength of my moral convictions. That is what I want to bring to the politics of Barbados, a sense of justice, a sense that everyone should have a chance.”
The above is a paid political broadcast sponsored by the Barbados Labour Party. The views and opinions expressed in this broadcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of the Nation.”