Remembering PM David

Today marked the fifth anniversary of the death of former Prime Minister David Thompson, the island’s sixth. Though illness robbed him of serving a full term in office, he made an indelible mark on his beloved country.

Today we reflect on some of the memorable quotes –– from wide-ranging speeches –– of David John Howard Thompson, who is still described by many as a man of the people.

  Barbados is not only an economy. It is a society. We must never forget this. It is a failure to appreciate that this creates the kind of tension we are seeing in relation to the CSME and the movement of people who have cultures and an outlook that differ from ours.

We are pursuing an economic integration model without dealing with social realities. It is a preoccupation with economy rather than society that divorces us from an understanding of what is ours; so that we so easily surrender it and give it to others under the illusion that “if you want to get to Heaven you must first die”.

The first order of business of any Democratic Labour Party Government must be to re-establish that ours is a society in which we must find and pursue our true potential before we can surrender it to others.

–– From the book Barbados Is More Than An Economy, It’s A Society, compiled by Minister of Education Ronald Jones.

The challenges confronting this country are not insurmountable. All that’s needed is a vision, a plan and a commitment to making it happen. Students of politics would recall how 40 years ago this great political party was confrotned with challenges of a more acute nature.

Errol Barrow and his colleagues had a dream and they set out on a crusade –– a crusade to create a just society. They had that as their mission, and they accomplished it.

–– From the book Barbados Is More Than An Economy, It’s A Society, compiled by Minister of Education Ronald Jones.

It is easy, especially in times of economic crisis, for the stakeholders to become impatient at what they see as the slow pace of the integration project, and to declare it dead on arrival.

At Grand Anse in 1989, Michael Manley reminded us that crisis, stagnation and economic recession had been the permanent bedfellows of CARICOM since its inception, engendering as a consequence: “the long period of near-retreat from strategic purpose”.

In 2009, we are again faced by global economic convulsions of unprecedented proportions. These circumstances only reinforce my conviction that regional integration is the last best hope for the Caribbean. Going it alone or fragmenting into unworkable reconfigurations of the regional project cannot be an enduring solution. We must concentrate on strengthening the core, not on proliferating the periphery. 

–– From a speech on Barbados’ immigration policy on July 1, 2009, in Guyana.

Moreover, I believe that it is only when we become aware of the Caribbean Sea as a bridge, and not a barrier, that true regional integration will begin. I feel very strongly about this. We must teach our people to appreciate the Caribbean Sea as an extension of our small islands and the gateway to our future.

–– From a speech at the Caribbean Conference Of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (A Healthy Caribbean) in October, 2008.

We should not for one moment believe that the world revolves around CARICOM. As the economic crisis recedes, some argue that its effects will linger for some time and even longer for the small states of the Caribbean. What does that mean for the CSME? 

Small states in the Caribbean and beyond are now evaluating the implications of a new role for the G20. As the developed and large developing nations craft means to safeguard their economies from another financial crisis, the region must devise an appropriate response within CARICOM and internationally, to ensure that our interests are not overlooked. The major political and social dimensions of true community must be addressed explicitly. That is, they must be recognized, confronted and accommodated.

For too long we have evaded or ignored the obvious decision that we will have to take to bring our region together. How do you integrate small communities, 14 of which are separated by water; of varying ethnicities and cultures and languages; and of differing levels of development and legislative systems?

It is a conceptual and practical challenge but not one beyond our reach or means.

–– From a speech at The Convocation Of The CSME on October 9, 2009.

The first order of business of any Democratic Labour Party Government must be to re-establish that ours is a society in which we must find and pursue our true potential before we can surrender it to others.

–– From the book Barbados Is More Than An Economy, It’s A Society, compiled by Minister of Education Ronald Jones.

 We are all a part of God’s great big family, and the truth, you know, love is all we need. That’s my fondest wish for Barbadians. That we use adversity to refocus our energies on what’s best for Barbados and that we wrap our actions and our utterances in the National Flag and the furtherance of this great nation we call home. That’s my challenge to you. Unite and love.

–– From his final national address to Barbados in October, 2010.

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