Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Sir John a man of principle


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He was their cheerleader, their life coach and their teacher.

And he was not afraid to take a stand if he believed in a principle.

These were the memories of the children of Sir John Connell, Lachmi and Dr Kwame Connell who were speaking at his service of thanksgiving at the Cathedral Church of St Michael and All Angels yesterday.

The 81-year-old retired Justice of Appeal passed away on March 28, and his service yesterday drew legal luminaries and politicians from across the divide to the 229-year-old church.

During a service attended by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart; leader of the Barbados Labour Party, Mia Mottley; Retired Chief Justice Sir David Simmons; Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson; members of the judiciary, the magistracy and the legal fraternity, Lachmi remembered her father as a man who stood on principle “regardless of the repercussions”.

“An example [was] his voting with the Government while being an Opposition senator on the issue of increasing the number of constituencies, having discussed with the leadership at George Street that they would not rescind the law if they win the next General Election, only to be fired from the platform by then party leader Errol Barrow,” she said, adding his philosophy was that he should be able to face the man in the mirror every day.

She said he was branded a radical but explained that his humble beginnings in a chattel house in the “Back Ivy”, born to a carpenter father and a seamstress mother, underpinned his philosophy of educating Barbadians.

She added his one unfulfilled desire was that he wanted to do more for Haiti.

Her brother Kwame said his father taught by example and was a teacher “who was never tired of learning”.

“He wanted to educate his people even though it wasn’t always well received,” his son recalled.

He held his father as their teacher, their cheerleader, their moral compass and their life coach.

“He taught by example and he set a very high standard,” he told the congregation yesterday, adding his father had “genuine trouble” with the “concept of boredom” when “there were so many books to read”.

The sermon was delivered by Dean of the Cathedral, Dr Jeffrey Gibson. (HLE)


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