Saturday, April 13, 2024

Lashley reflects on times with PM

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THE MAN WHO joined David Thompson in politics, left him, and then rejoined him, has described the late Prime Minister as one without a vengeful bone in his body.

Government backbencher Hamilton Lashley, who first entered elective politics on a Democratic Labour Party [DLP] ticket in 1994, only to join the Barbados Labour Party [BLP] Government in 1998, then shifted back to the DLP administration this year, yesterday told the DAILY NATION the late political leader lived the life he preached and was never a pretender.

Lashley said that at the point when he left the DLP, Thompson did not show him the animosity that normally would have occurred in such situations.

“We would see each other at Parliament and it would always be amicable. He never showed any contemptuous or contentious attitude toward me and this spoke volumes to the type of individual he was,” Lashley said.

He reminisced that it was Thompson who came into the Pine, St Michael, sought him out and brought him into politics in 1994.

That later led to him narrowly defeating the BLP’s Delisle Bradshaw in the general election. He noted Thompson was constantly by his side and did everything to make his entry into politics as easy as possible.

Lashley said after making the decision to rejoin the DLP, Thompson welcomed him back with open arms.  “David did not have to take me back, but he did, and looked out for my welfare too. So he did not have a vengeful spirit.

I am sure that David will be with the angels because the Bible talks about forgiveness and humility and David accepted God,” he said.

He added: “He lived a life where obviously people would be in disagreement with a lot of what he said or did, but he never showed any rancour or animosity to people. He was exceptionally cool under fire and reflected humility and an understanding of the human perspective.”

Lashley said during Thompson’s sickness they spoke more frequently than they had done for a very long time.

Lashley, who had been in an accident that claimed the life of a close friend, said Thompson had called him from New York to enquire about his health and he was forced to tell him that it should be him who should be enquiring about the Prime Minister’s condition.

” I was always convinced in my mind that he would have recovered from his illness but that was not to be and God knows best,” he said.

The St Michael South East MP said after the last parliamentary meeting that Thompson attended, the former St John MP shook his hand and asked him if he was okay.

Lashley recalled that Thompson’s hand felt unusually cold and he had a foreboding that the end could be drawing close for his political mentor.

“He went through this situation in a very brave and strong way. He handled his health issues really well,” Lashley said.

He added: “Through all the trials, tribulations and stress that he would have experienced over a period of time, he showed himself to be a most amazing human being.

He identified with the young, the old, poor and rich, and he did so with consummate ease, to such an extent that young people and the poor especially, looked up to him.

His unorthodox approach as a leader is one that other Caribbean leaders and those aspiring to leadership should emulate.”

Lashley said he hoped Government would find some way to perpetuate Thompson’s memory,  whether in terms of a scholarship in his name or a monument.

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