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Former government minister dies

Staff Writer

Former government minister dies

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Former government minister and member of parliament for Christ Church East, Dr Denis Lowe has died, a notice from his constituency assistant Gale Anne Luke said on Friday.

Lowe, a social scientist, and licensed clinical psychologist came to public office 14 years ago when he won the Christ Church East seat for the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) on his second attempt in the 2008 general elections.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of our beloved former member of parliament, Dr Denis Stephenson Lowe,” Luke said in the notice.

“Dr Lowe, as I always referred to him, was a very amazing and caring gentleman. He was a man for the people and of the people. He loved people and cared so much for his constituents of Christ Church East.”

Lowe had unsuccessfully contested the St Andrew seat, where he gained 925 votes, and the winner, George Payne of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) amassed 3 524 votes.

Four years later, Lowe gained 2 188 votes in his first attempt in Christ Church East, but the winner, Reginald Farley of the BLP polled 2 510 votes.

He was subsequently appointed to the Senate in 2003 and served as shadow Minister of Education, Youth Affairs, and Sports, while he also served the DLP as public affairs officer.

After his electoral success in 2008, Lowe was appointed Minister of the Environment and Drainage in June 2011, having held those posts and the additional portfolio of Water Resources from November 2008.

He also held the portfolio of Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, and Urban Development.

Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw described Lowe as “a faithful servant” of the DLP.

“(He) was always one of its most ardent supporters and defenders,” she said in a statement. “His robust use of colourful language on the political platform endeared him to many and ensured he was always one of the DLP’s most sought-after speakers.

“While we operated on opposite sides of the political divide in Barbados, we recognise that there is much value in the Biblical injunction – there is a time and a season for everything under the sun.

“We may not have agreed often with his political style or the policies that his party pursued, but we do believe that as a Barbadian, Dr Denis Lowe cared about his country; and at this moment of his passing, it is appropriate to set aside the cut and thrust of politics to say: ‘Thank you for your service to Barbados’!”

Lowe brought his extensive background in social development work to public office, where he placed great emphasis on the role that alternative energy could play in this island’s development and its ability to survive and be competitive globally, and under his leadership, the movement towards the Green Economy took root.

At the constituency level, he assisted in the educational, social and economic development of many young people.

Steve Blackett, current general secretary of the DLP, said he was truly saddened by the passing of “my friend”.

“I say friend because in politics, even with persons in your own party, many are just comrades, but Denis was my friend because he was a good and decent man,” the former government minister said.

“During our two terms in office between 2008 and 2018, Denis and I sat next to each other both in Parliament and the Cabinet room, so I got to share every single week of his immense intellect, humanity, devotion to his constituents, his late mother and to his family, relatives and comrades.”

Blackett added: “He was controversial in some of his mouthings, but that was because his conviction to his philosophical beliefs often unbridled and loosened his tongue to the discomfort of some, but that was who he was.

“His remarkable oration was informed, practised, and cultivated by his exposure to the church as a lay preacher. He was evangelical in his parliamentary speeches, and his platform presentations and lectures.”

Before coming to public office, Lowe was managing director and principal consultant with Life View International.

He worked extensively in the United States with the University of Cincinnati (his tertiary alma mater) and in the state of Ohio in varying capacities, all with a focus on social development.

Lowe held a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, which he obtained in 1984. A year later, he achieved his Masters in Education from the University of Cincinnati, majoring in developmental psychology with a minor in social science research and policy development.

He was awarded a Doctorate in Education from the same university in 1989. Again, his major was developmental psychology, but his minor had changed to educational research.

Lowe was also a certified HIV and AIDS educator with the American Red Cross at the Drew University School of Medicine, and he participated in several research projects from 1988 to 1996 that included issues such as cocaine use during pregnancy, teens in crisis, community involvement in the fight against substance abuse, and the social climate in integrated schools.

He leaves to mourn his two sons, Myles and Jaydee, his father Lemuel Greene, and his siblings Cathecia, Tony, Wayne, Ramon, Venice, Heather, Beverly, Wendy, and Sherry Ann.