Friday, March 1, 2024

The loss of a boyhood friend


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BARBADOS has lost a Prime Minister.
But yesterday an emotional Pearson Bovell told the SUNDAY SUN that with the death of David Thompson, he had lost a personal boyhood friend.
The financial and insurance specialist at CLICO remembered his friend of more than three decades as one blessed with a humble spirit, despite his many political and professional achievements.
“He caught the bus with us in the then Lower Green bus stand; he loved the characters such as Easy Boy and Randolph; he loved people; and was always generous,” Bovell said.
Bovell recalled that as youngsters at Combermere, when some there wanted to stop a football club and some children from using the school’s pasture to play, Thompson was bitterly opposed to it.
“If you go back to that period when he was at school, with those guys from the Bush Hall area trying to use the school pasture . . . as you know, Combermere is somewhat gated and guys would climb over the wall. The guys did not have a pasture in their area and he wanted them to be able to use the school’s facilities. 
“From then you could see his interest in forging a relationship with people and families in the community. He carried that social consciousness into politics,” he said.
Bovell said Thompson was adept at imitating the speech patterns of politicians and while at school often mimicked late Prime Ministers Tom Adams and Errol Barrow, as well as current President of the Senate and Democratic Labour Party stalwart Branford Taitt.
“He had a fantastic memory. Almost verbatim, he could recall speeches made by people. We picked up a quality in him where his memory was such that once he met you, he didn’t forget your name and could almost recall to the date and year, when he met you,” he said.
Bovell recalled that while working part-time as schoolboys at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation [CBC], Thompson, Rodwell London [CBC’s deputy chairman], Pedro Stanford and himself used to frequent the Belair Jazz Club.
“We used to listen to Ernie Small play on the piano and his interest in jazz piqued then,” he said.
He added social policies such as free bus rides and free summer camps were born out of the late leader’s early experiences and sensitivity toward the circumstances of vulnerable people.
“It is unfortunate that some of his personal dreams he did not get to realise, in terms of seeing his children go to the next level and achieving in life. But I am comforted that they have an excellent grounding in terms of family life. Mara is an extremely strong person and the children are in very good hands. David thought the world of Mara,” he said.
Bovell described Thompson as a fierce political opponent but, once out of the political environment, was a very gentle, caring compassionate person.
“The nation has lost a Prime Minister. I have lost a personal friend. Politics is secondary in the scheme of things. You are first a human being, then most human beings have friendships, but politics is secondary in terms of loss. For me this loss is deeper than politics,” he said.


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