Rocheford remembered as a ‘man of the people’
Barbadians from all walks of life packed the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in St Philip this morning to bid farewell to one of this country’s nation builders, the late Gilmore Rocheford.
Rocheford, who passed away on July 26 at the age of 91, was remembered as a committed family man, an outstanding educator, community worker and a selfless politician who had the honour to be one of the members who sat in the Federal Parliament during the period 1958-1962.
In a moving eulogy, his son Anthony Rocheford revealed that his father’s true passion was in teaching.
Rocheford recalled that while teaching at the former Washington High School, Coleridge and Parry and then Christ Church High School, his father was able to influence the lives of several young people.
He disclosed that even though he was a committed family man, his community spiritedness would come to the fore when confronted by the peculiar challenges of the less privileged in his village.
“My father had his own agenda; his was being the benefactor for the village. He would tell us that someone in the village needed an item more than us so we would have to do without. When we said, ‘but dad you are giving everybody, but they are not giving us anything,’ he would say: ‘You should not give because you expect something back or to get thanks, but do it because it was the right thing to do. You must help others,'” Rocheford said.
Rocheford recalled that during Hurricane Janet of September 1955, his home on Bank Hall, St Michael, became a hurricane shelter for several persons who were unable to reach the District ‘A’ Police Station on Station Hill.
Highlighting his lack of mean-spiritedness in politics, where that quality is often seen as a virtue, Rocheford said: “As a politician though he had his political affiliation, he was not afraid to support ideas from the other side once it was in the interest of national development. He always said the interest of Barbados superseded any parochial partisan interests.”
Meanwhile, in a brief tribute to Rocheford, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley described him as “a gentle giant who was loyal to a fault”.
She recalled that in association with Grantley Adams, he gave selflessly to the cause of the Barbados Labour Party and by extension the social and economic development of Barbados.
In lauding his selflessness, the St Michael North East MP said: “Rocheford personified the best in relation to how we should live with each other. He was a true servant of the people.”
Among those attending today’s funeral service and burial were former Prime Minister Owen Arthur; former Cabinet Minister Sir Louis Tull; former MP for St Joseph Sir Richard Cheltenham; former Deputy Prime Minister Dame Billie Miller; St Michael North MP Ronald Toppin; St Michael South East MP Santia Bradshaw; St Thomas MP Cynthia Forde; and Opposition Senator Dr Jerome Walcott. (NC}