Anniversary of David Thompson’s death marked in St John
Today marked four years since former Prime Minister David Thompson lost his battle with cancer while still in office.
For many residents of St John where he served as parliamentary representative for over 20 years, October 23, 2010 will forever be etched in their minds as the day when their friend, and an individual who they felt always had their best interests at heart, was snatched from them.
Barbados TODAY visited the rural parish today where many residents quietly observed the anniversary.
Many spoke of the relationship they had with their late representative who was always around and told of how much they sincerely missed him.
One woman even spoke of her visits to his gravesite.
Shopkeeper Ena Sealy said Thompson was a good Prime Minister and generally a “jolly good fella”. While she has accepted that he has gone home to be with the Lord and she has to do without him, Sealy told Barbados TODAY she will cherish the precious memories she shared with him, including the long conversations they had at her church.
The elderly resident indicated that a piece of Thompson remained with her, as she disclosed that his widow Mara and three daughters often visited to make sure she and her family were progressing well.
“When he passed that was so sad,” Sealy said.
“Although you know you have to die, you don’t know how you are going to die. It was a shock although we knew he was sick. We miss him, but he gone to be with the Master and as the years come and go we will always [observe] the anniversary,” she added.
From early this morning, Suzette Clarke posted a message on her Facebook page acknowledging the anniversary of Thompson’s death. She remembered him as a good representative who was always there for the people he represented.
“I made the post to show people that he will always be remembered by the people of St John, and that he’s gone but certainly not forgotten.
“I can’t speak for the rest of Barbados, but certainly that is the case in St John. You used to find him hanging out under the pavilion watching cricket. He was always there if you needed a favour. After four years, I am still missing him, particularly on this day.”
Meanwhile, Stanton Small said he believed that if Thompson was alive, the country would have been a better place. The gravedigger described his former representative as a good man.
“He used to come and enjoy himself with us like [former Prime Minister and representative for that parish] Errol Barrow. He use to come and suck cane. Thompson was such a nice person,” said Small.
Irvine Cooke described the deceased leader as a positive individual who executed his job as a representative very well. He said what he appreciated most about Thompson was the fact that he was always there when needed.
“He was a person you could afford to ask him anything. You could attack him anytime. And when Thompson tell you ‘yes’ it was yes. He would never tell you he would do something and not do it.”
Next door at the Estwick residence, a framed picture of Thompson stood next to the television. The residents of that home declared “he belongs to here”.
As Aileen Estwick put it, “the whole house is a Thompson fan”.
“He belonged to us and he wasn’t just here at election time. Even his barber lives here.”
Odessa Waithe, an elderly resident, said she frequently went to Thompson’s resting place at the St John Parish Church where she sat at his grave and talked to him.
She dismissed any suggestions that she may be “crazy” and stressed that she never looked for a response.
“I know he can’t come out and talk back to me but I does still go,” Waithe said.
She said she fell in love with Thompson from the first time she set eyes on him.
“I [am] one that helped bring he up here. When Mr Barrow bring he up here I did down there by a woman sitting down and he asked, ‘who wunna want up here?’ I say, ‘I want Thompson up here’ and it did happen,” she recalled.
When our team visited the gravesite early this afternoon, a few visitors were gathered around reading the tombstone and conversing about Thompson’s legacy.