Friday, April 19, 2024

IN THE CANDID CORNER: Dear Mr Thompson

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All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming it. – Helen KellerAs I write you this letter, here is hoping that the reaches of these few lines find you in the best of health under the circumstances as outlined to me during your media briefing on May 14, 2010.I know it is not protocol to write to the Prime Minister directly, but I am sure you will forgive the breach this once, since I am hurting sore deeply since you broached the news of your health issues. Given the nature of bureaucracy I am sure a letter written to my Prime Minister would see neither the light of your eyes, or of day.My heart goes out to your dear wife Mrs Mara Thompson whom I love dearly and with whom I empathise greatly. Not forgetting your daughters who I know love their Dad dearly. Given the bond that is known to exist between daughters and their fathers, I could barely begin to feel their hurt, but I pray Almighty God will grant them the calm assurance that, trusting in Him, all things are possible. He has promised that He will not put more on us than we are able to bear. I will continue to pray for your dear mother, who has been a tower of strength as she has been helping me to cope with what has been a new experience. Your father Charles is not to be left out. I am sure you remember just over two years ago when you spent Father’s Day at cricket at Kensington Oval with him watching the third and final Test match between West Indies and Australia. Fond memories and treasured moments, I am sure, there were. I know that for you it is always “family first”.I really want to give God thanks for your doctors both locally and at the hospital in New York and elsewhere. I hope that He will give them the wisdom and the strength of healing hands so that you will be restored to good health. While we wish the affairs of the country to be attended to, your health comes first. Mr Thompson, you know how Barbadians feel about their leaders. Regardless of political persuasion, we love our leaders, especially our Prime Minister. We feel they belong to us. Their lives become our lives and we become that for which they sacrifice. You recall how Barbadians spoke about former Prime Minister, now Sir Lloyd Sandiford. I am sure you remember how we “dressed” and “undressed” him and even groomed his hair. Thomas Jefferson once said: “Information is the currency of democracy.” I am not blaming you for my being in the dark about the ongoing status of the your health.I dreamt that you became the president of the United States and the White House set up an information bureau whose mandate was simply to keep the people informed about the status of your health.The bureau held weekly media briefings. On each occasion, a member of the medical team was on hand to answer questions and a family spokesman was always present to vet questions in the event that they might breach your family’s privacy. While I do not wish to become the United States, I wish that a similar mechanism were in place so that your constituents from St John especially, and all citizens would know how their Prime Minister is doing healthwise.I know that this may be like walking a tightrope between your right to privacy and that of the public to know. Sir, believe me when I tell you that Barbadians of all persuasions have been hurting because they just cannot hear one word about their beloved Prime Minister. There is a national genuine desire to see you fully restored.I am claiming healing through prayer in the name of Jesus! Mr Thompson, I was touched by the comments of the Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley when she said, on hearing your announcement, that she was “saddened to learn” of your illness.Mr Thompson, do you remember when you and Mia Mottley used to debate on national television while you were still at school. What a joy it used to be to watch you both, so smart, so articulate and so convincing! Little did we know that you were both grooming yourselves for leadership? I could well imagine the impact your illness and absence has had on your Cabinet colleagues for whom I hope that some form of counselling has been provided. When you told Barbadians you were taking two months’ leave from your duties as Prime Minister, Sir, you asked that we continue to fight for the causes for which you fought as a youth leader, lawyer and political leader. Our perpetual fervent prayer for you will avail much.I amYour dear country, Barbados
• Matthew D. Farley is a secondary school principal, chairman of the National Forum On Education, and a social commentator. Email laceyprinci@yahoo.com.

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