Sir Warwick and Lady Grace Franklin. (FILE)
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The following statement was issued by president of the Democratic Labour Party, Verla De Peiza, on the passing of elder statesman Sir Warwick Franklin.
Sir Warwick passed away yesterday. He was 81.
The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) wears mourning colours today to honour the life and contribution of one of our elders, Sir Warwick Franklin.
He was part of a generation of politician who practised people-centred politics.
As Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries in the late 1980s he created space in the industry for local players to thrive.
He was responsible for introducing a policy which saw the reduction in meat imports, particularly poultry and pork, by insisting local farmers supplied 60% of the processors’ needs.
He understood the need for our people to be invested in cottage industries and made way for a thriving niche market in jams and juices and sauces.
These have since matured and migrated out of homes and onto industrial estates, employing hundreds of Barbadians.
The Spring Hall Land Lease programme and other similar initiatives blossomed under his leadership.
Farmers, though not landowners outright, had the opportunity to make more than a living but also a business out of farming.
Our cotton industry reached its peak in that period from 1986 to 1994. It never reached those heights before or since.
His unparalleled success in that area drew the bitter ire of political opponents.
But even at his lowest ebb, as unfounded barbs were hurled at him and a full-fledged political character assassination waged without a single shred of evidence, he held his head high and remained ever the statesman.
We are in similar political times now; the parallels of his life ought now to be reflected upon and the lessons learned.
But more than a public figure, his private life was the gel which held it all together.
He never ceased to credit his wife Grace Lady Franklin for giving him the space to be so deeply involved in the development of his beloved country.
He adored his children; and in them there endures that passion for giving and serving.
His twin brother the late Vallan was an integral part of his life, sharing more than the expected bond in childhood but extending it to professional life and business development.
That legacy too lives on as their children continue an indigenous business into the second generation.
This is a model for other local entities to emulate.
To his widow, children, grandchildren, large closely-knit extended family, his DLP family and wider Barbadian society we now extend heartfelt condolences.
The loss is acute; but we thank him wholeheartedly for his efforts on our behalf.
We are eternally grateful.
Your rest is well earned. Until. (PR)