BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, (CUOPM) –
The flags of St. Kitts and Nevis will be flown at half-mast on Wednesday 3rd November – the day of the State Funeral of the late Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. David Thompson.
The announcement has come from St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas as he paid tribute in the National Assembly to the late Barbadian leader who died of pancreatic cancer on October 23rd.
He told Parliamentarians that the Cabinet during its regular meeting paid its own respects to the “regional integrationist” by observing a moment of silence.
“We had time to reflect on how much this man had done in such a short time of his life. How many lives had been impacted in a positive way not only in Barbados, but in the Caribbean region generally and also here in St. Kitts and Nevis,” Prime Minister Douglas told Parliament.
He traced Mr. Thompson’s rise in politics when he won a by-election following the death of his mentor, Prime Minister Errol Barrow, sitting on the opposition benches and leading the party to victory in the January 2008 General Election.
“I speak of him in particular at this time in this Honourable House because his work as a highly respected international lawyer had come to the attention of the Commonwealth Secretariat which requested him to assist us here in St. Kitts and Nevis in revamping our electoral reform system,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who will lead a four-person delegation to the State Funeral on Wednesday.
He said the amendments to the electoral law in St. Kitts and Nevis “stand as testimony to his great work as an international and highly respected lawyer.”
“The electoral system that we have is not only an improvement to what we had before, but it is now one of the leading electoral systems in the Caribbean and the Commonwealth. It stands as a testimony of the work of that great man,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who added that the people of St. Kitts and Nevis “are sad, as the people of the region are sad.”
“We believed that he was untimely taken away from us, at the age of 48 years; not yet three years in office to carry out the enormous tasks that had been laid on his shoulders by the people of Barbados and the enormous task that the Caribbean people had given to him as the champion to continued creation and solidification of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy; yet again he demonstrated that he was a fearless and very fierce Caribbean integrationist as he used his skills, his talents and his expertise to bring the Caribbean into an era in which it can stand tall, proud and competitive with the rest of the world,” Prime Minister Douglas told fellow Parliamentarians and the Federation.
“This Parliament mourns his loss. The Government and the People of St. Kitts and Nevis, we mourn his loss. We extend from this Parliament our condolences to his dear wife, his three children who loved this place (St. Kitts and Nevis), they loved the St. Kitts Marriott and they were very frequently here,” said Dr. Douglas.
Senior Minister and Minister of Agriculture, International Trade, Commerce and Industry and Constituency Empowerment, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris in his tribute recalled Mr. Thompson’s “quiet and unassuming nature.”
“There was nothing that told you who he was, that he was a man of importance in the country. He was almost too quiet in personality. By the time David Thompson the individual was well known and well-placed in Barbadian society, it was because of the excellent way in which he had claimed himself during school life,” said Dr. Harris .
“When we reflect, when the Nation reflects on the life of David Thompson, we would remember him most for that humility, the humble nature of the man and the fact that he stood and stayed grounded with the people in Barbados. He had a compassionate view about the society and how it should be developed,” Dr. Harris told Parliamentarians.
Representative for Nevis 11, Hon. Vance Amory in his tribute said the demise of Mr. Thompson at age 48, “and so short after he had begun to make some positive waves, especially within the CARICOM Community “must give us “cause and pause for our thoughts and reflection on our own mortality.”
“It is clear he was highly respected and held in great esteem in his country and the country must now be mourning his loss to a very great degree as Barbados and the Caribbean have lost a citizen of immense intellect and immense worth. History would recall that his influence, even though short-lived in respect of the leadership of the Barbados Government and his involvement as a leading head in CARICOM, would record that his influence spread far beyond and deeper than is presently recognised,” said Mr. Amory, who extended his personal condolences on behalf of himself and his own party (Concerned Citizens Movement) and the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mark Brantley who was absent from the Chamber.
Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of Government Business, Hon. Sam Condor and Hon. Eugene Hamilton also expressed condolences to Mr. Thompson’s family and the People of Barbados.