Tears for David


LATE PRIME MINISTER David Thompson’s distinguishing half smile never deserted him even in death.
As he passed at 2:10 a.m. yesterday, it was reported that he wore his partial smile while two pastors prayed and read psalms.
His wife Mara wept.
The tears flowed freely at the loss of her husband, while their three young daughters could hardly bear the thought that “daddy” would no longer be there with them.
The four huddled together, along with mother Margaret, who was also at his bedside as Thompson, 48, peacefully passed after a seven-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
“Our family has lost the person who was central to all we did. We enjoyed and endured his public service experiences,” Mara later said in an emotional statement.
Shed tears
Also at his bedside was Senator David Durant, Thompson’s pastor and confidant, who admitted he too, shed tears.
Durant, who was joined by Elesius Joseph, of the Apostolic Teaching Centre, had earlier read Psalms 91 and 46, as Thompson lay quietly on his bed, conscious to the very end.
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty,” read Durant.
Durant, who visited with Thompson during his recent illness, also reminded him that “God is our refuge and our strength” and said he felt comforted that Thompson in his dying days appeared to be at peace with God.
Yesterday, the entire nation was gripped by news of Thompson’s passing. Many people, including several Cabinet colleagues, openly cried as the clouds gave way to short, sharp showers on a day that remained unusually overcast.
Thompson’s former deputy, Freundel Stuart, was sworn in as the country’s seventh Prime Minister. He emerged with the majority support (12 votes), following a secret ballot among 18 elected DLP MPs. Sources said Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler got five of the six remaining votes.
Inestimable service
Stuart, who is due to deliver his first address to the nation as Prime Minister tonight, said Thompson had given “inestimable service” to public life.
Meantime, Mara’s relatives have flown in from St Lucia to comfort the family ahead of the funeral, for which arrangements were being coordinated by Senator Maxine McClean.
Members of Thompson’s staff spoke openly to the media outside his Mapps, St Philip home about the man they knew intimately and dearly loved.
In St John, one woman admitted to feeling weak, while old and young residents wept for “the boss”, who valiantly represented them in Parliament for the past 23 years.
Yesterday, several onlookers journeyed to his home seeking closure as word spread far and wide of Thompson’s passing.
International media networks – CNN and BBC – carried reports of Thompson’s death, as the country’s lone television station broke into regular programming for special tributes to the life and work of the late Barbadian leader.
Thompson, who took office in January 2008, was also warmly remembered by his Caribbean counterparts.
His personal friend Roosevelt Skerrit, prime minister of Dominica, who visited with Thompson here just recently, told the SUNDAY SUN he was “very, very saddened by David’s death”.
“I will miss him a lot,” he said.
Equally moved was the St Lucia opposition leader Dr Kenny Anthony, who choked back tears as he recalled law school days at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies with Thompson.
A lawyer, Thompson assumed the leadership reins in January 2008, following a general election victory by the Democratic Labour Party.
Tragic loss
His main political opponent, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, put aside politics yesterday to mourn the untimely passing of Thompson, whose death he called a “tragic and staggering loss for our nation”. He also described Thompson as “one of the most remarkable Barbadians of his generation”.
The body of Barbados’ sixth Prime Minister has been entrusted to Downes and Wilson Funeral Home in preparation for a state funeral during the first week in November.
He leaves to mourn his wife Mara, three daughters, Osa Marie, Misha and Oya, and other relatives.


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