Whither David’s legacy?
David Thompson must be rolling in his grave –– and not just over the very lacklustre way in which his own Democratic Labour Party (DLP) recently marked the fourth anniversary of his death on October 23.
We are not by any means suggesting there was need for any official re-enactment of the very elaborate funeral service held in the immediate aftermath of his passing, but one would have thought that at least the members of the various committees that emerged during that period of national mourning would have sought to ensure his memory is kept alive.
Instead, we were treated to silence –– stony and drawn out silence.
Not even the “kingmaker” (maybe too busy in other regional capitals), or any of those who owed their ascension to him had a word to say on the late Prime Minister’s behalf. Was it a case of quiet remembrance, or is the loud message being sent that Mr Thompson is gone and ought to be forgotten?
Yes, he will never come back and the country, as a whole, needs to move on. But to what state his legacy? What of the things he held most dear?
We have already seen the back of the David Thompson Memorial Football Tournament. That went the way of economic disaster and the 3,000 plus public servants. Soon we expect will follow the much touted summer camp programme and other social entitlement schemes that marked his brief tenure as Prime Minister, which ended in national tragedy.
Still struggling to hold on to what little is left of his legacy in Government is widow Mara Thompson, who no doubt has been reading the tea leaves ever since the death of her beloved husband and the rise and fall of that Eager Eleven.
Ever wondered what happened to Mr Thompson’s once touted Ministry of Family? Gone also, as it seems has much of the physical evidence of his leadership.
We have to wait and see if the St John Polyclinic that is due to bear his name will ever reach the stage of completion.
As much as we understand the economic situation in the country, it is shameful, to say the least, that this project, which was started under the last administration, is still counted among the undone, even after we have been given assurances on top of assurances by the current Government.
For Mara’s sake, David’s legacy’s sake and, more importantly, the St John people’s sake, let’s get it over and done!
In fact, St John should be the last place in Barbados where anyone should be able to point to and use the word neglect. The reality, however, is that it is an albatross around this administration’s neck.
St John’s undying loyalty to the ruling DLP has been repaid with years and years of neglect –– to the point where Mrs Thompson herself can no longer hide her frustration.
From the floor of Parliament yesterday, she made her latest impassioned plea for the Government to speed up work on the long-awaited polyclinic, saying she had received numerous complaints from families in St John, “time and again” about their having still to attend the inadequate facility at Gall Hill.
She emphasized that it was also “torturous” for them to walk past the spanking facility at Glebe Land, see how beautiful it looks and yet be unable to enter it when having health problems. Mrs Thompson went even further to reveal that only yesterday morning, a seven-year-old boy had to be taken all the way to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after an asthma attack.
The St John representative, who had previously been very critical of the Barbados Labour Party’s handling of the constituency when it was in office, said it occurred to her then, that if the facility at the Glebe had been ready, the child would have been there within seconds and would have been sorted out.
The way it all sounds to us is that there is much more at play with this polyclinic than just economics.
Having initially put the cost at $16 million and then revising it earlier this year to $24 million, the present Government also owes it to taxpayers of this country to ensure that, in this time of austerity, such a major financial investment does not continue to lie idle and ultimately go to waste.
Indeed, the ruling DLP would do well to remember that ever so powerful passage of Timothy:
But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.