Sir Harcourt a ‘rare breed’
Family and friends of late Cabinet Minister and senior public servant Sir Harcourt Lewis gathered at Parliament building today where senators paid tribute to him.
Leading off the tributes was Leader of Government Business, Senator Maxine McClean, who labeled Sir Harcourt as “a rare breed of Barbadian who gave of himself to this country until his passing”.
“We will recall that at the time of his passing he would have been serving as one of the directors of an important Government institution. I believe that it was through this dedication to country that he touched the lives of every single Barbadian of my generation, those before me, and certainly those later,” she said.
“I grew up to learn to read and to get to know, not only Sir Harcourt, but also his contribution in several areas. What is significant about persons of this era [is that] he was born like most of us into humble circumstances, but never allowed that to hold him back. Indeed, I would argue that this perhaps spurred him on to do what he did and become, for us, an exemplary citizen of Barbados and the world and to go on to make the several contributions that he did.”
McClean noted that though he was a career public servant and later a politician, Sir Harcourt maintained a humble personality and spent a lot of time being a pioneer in several areas.
“He would have been involved as a boy in the Boy Scouts and later took on the role of Chief Scout until 2012. He later became a pioneer of the credit union movement in Barbados. One of the persons who young credit unionists looked to for guidance would have been Sir Harcourt. He, himself, would have been very instrumental in getting the Barbados Public Workers Co-operative Credit Union Limited off the ground. That was part of the tangible efforts of pioneers like Sir Harcourt who felt that there was much to be gained by ordinary working class Barbadians coming together to pool their resources in a financial institution. Today, we can proudly speak of the over 100,000 members of the movement in Barbados,” said McClean, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.