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House pays tribute to Symmonds’ mother

A strong resolute woman, an outstanding citizen, a great dignified lady.

These were among the words used to describe the late Margot Vinnette Symmonds, the mother of St. James Central MP Kerrie Symmonds, in the House of Assembly today.

MPs on both sides of the political fence praised the former Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados member and volunteer, who died in March.

Leader of the House, Christ Church South MP John Boyce, who led off the obituary speeches, said once retired, Symmonds “sought to pay back to a society from which she had gotten so much”.

“In her latter years, while herself begin afflicted by illness, Margot Symmonds found time to sacrifice and to serve. I want to record the sincere appreciation for her contribution to the many voluntary organisations in Barbados and make special mention of her work with the Heart & Stroke Foundation in Barbados,” the said.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said while he did not know Symmonds, her brother was a friend of his “for many, many years”.

The St. Michael South MP said he knew what it was to lose a mother, and that about seven years ago “I was going through exactly what the honourable member for St. James Central is now going through”.

“It took me some months to get a hollow that developed in my stomach filled after my own mother passed,” he stated. Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley said she could not imagine what it feels like to lose a mother as she praised her colleague’s mother.

“A mother is the person who initially has the responsibility for the nurturing of a baby and that effort and that love endures forever. I do not feel equipped therefore to speak with the experience and emotion, but … I speak with the respect and the concern and the empathy that my colleague and friend and his two brothers feel at the loss of his mother, as for their father,” she stated, calling Symmonds “a strong and resolute woman”.

Christ Church East MP Dr. Denis Lowe, who was Symmonds’ parliamentary representative, called her “an outstanding citizen”.

“I have never once going through my constituency heard anybody whatsoever speak a negative word of Mrs. Symmonds, I have never once had reason to ponder any difference in my own views about the kind of lady she was, and certainly today we all join in commemorating her life, but also celebrating her contribution to Barbados,” he said.

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur said he too knew what it is to lose a mother, and that there was no one else in his life closer to him than his mother was.

“I believe that I can speak on behalf of most Barbadian men that we are in a unique way the product of the fact that our society is a matriarchal society and I believe it was the same thing in the Symmonds household.”

Symmonds thanked the MPs “for their very kind expressions of condolence” and support during his mother’s illness and period of bereavement for him and his family.

“I was very, very close to my mother. In fact, I think in the presence of my father I can say that she was the person who perhaps I was closest to. And it is perhaps true to say … that her greatest burden would have been working with that which has been described as the raw material that I represent,” he said.

“But she tried and I think she make a yeoman effort at it, but she did instill in me that there are some things that are good, noble and true and that they should be recorded as a matter of principle, because above all things as much as she was interested and keen on the partisan side of politics, there was an aspect to my mother which was that there were some things that transcended partisan dispute.

In this regard, he praised the staff of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for their great display of professionalism in caring for his mother while she was a patient there. (SC)

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