Prime Minister Thompson’s funeral as good as any funeral could be

This is a short post to express our gratitude and admiration for the many folks who worked so hard to plan and carry out David Thompson’s funeral. Because of their long hours, meticulous attention to detail and heartfelt commitment to duty, our lost Prime Minister and his family were honoured in a fitting manner that, amid the tears and sorrow, brought a feeling of pride to every Bajan on the island and over and away.

We couldn’t begin to list every agency or person who played a part – and we thank them all – but we want to mention some of the folks who impressed us so much.

A big thank you to…

Officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force, the Barbados Defence Force and Coast Guard, whatever their duties, never looked sharper. There was not a hair or button out of place. Not a scuffed shoe or dull kit anywhere that we saw, even on the streets far from Kensington. Whether a part of the honour guard or directing traffic along the procession route, they turned out in top-drawer form and performed their duties with class and snap.

The official pall bearers. One word: magnificent. They must have practiced hard and late into the nights beforehand. Can you imagine the pressure, the dedication? All eyes were on them and they made us proud.

Public Works, Sanitation Service Authority. We just had Hurricane Tomas leave a trail of havoc throughout Barbados, but the streets were clean, free of debris and ready in time for the Prime Minister’s funeral. That didn’t happen by itself. Crews were working for days beforehand and throughout the night before the funeral. They did it for David and for Barbados. Theirs is a thankless job with no glory. We’re proud of each one of them and we’ll say so.

News media, especially the CBC for their excellent televised coverage of the funeral and Barbados Today for covering the story from a multitude of perspectives right from the PM’s passing to the after funeral articles. Frankly, we’d link more often to Barbados Today, but their flash-no-text presentation doesn’t lend itself well to being part of an internet community. The Nation had some good coverage  in their dead tree edition, but they must do something about their website as it was inaccessible for much of the time due to lack of capacity. Even this morning some 24 hours after the funeral people are reporting being unable to access The Nation’s website. Hey Nation… you’re either in business on the web or you’re not.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean was in charge of the State Funeral and she did us proud. Yes, we know she had a great team working with her. Yes, we know that many parts of the plan were worked out months ahead – but that doesn’t matter. Maxine brought it all together like the orchestra conductor. A friend of ours who is a little closer to the action than we are says that Maxine provided leadership by example that brought people together. He also says that she anticipated and took care of several major problems before they had a chance to happen.

You can bet that any major foul-ups would have been laid upon her shoulders – so we give Maxine the full credit and thanks she deserves.

That’s our list… How about yours?

The comments are open folks. Who would you like to say thank you to for yesterday’s state funeral?

(photo courtesy of The Barbados Advocate)

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “Prime Minister Thompson’s funeral as good as any funeral could be

  1. paul

    My wife and I were vacationing in your amazing country when your prime minister died. Everyone we spoke to expressed their admiration for him. Our condolences to Barbados, and thanks for the information on the funeral.

  2. Jamie

    It was an amazing tribute. I live in Texas and watched on UStream. The coverage was magnificent. The eulogies, the audio tributes by the children, were all well done. I was brought to tears watching the funeral. We have lost a great son. Kudos to the Barbados Police Force, Defense Force, and the Coast Guard for their expert execution of duty and CBC for streaming the funeral live. David Thompson will be missed. Sincere condolences to his wife Mara, daughters, Misha, Oya and Osa-Marie, his mother, father and siblings and to Barbados. May he rest in peace and rise in Glory.

  3. X

    I agree with all of your comendations with only one limitation. What on earth was that stuff on CBC that was broadcast between the service and the burial.

    I don’t think it was necessary to air an interview with the mortician talking about how you go about preserving bodies, nor was it necessary to hear from the florist who made the ‘buttonhole’. If they needed to fill some time because they didn’t have coverage along the route perhaps a selection of Thompson speeches or a narrated biography over photos would have been better. Those segments were awkward and at some points with the mortician a bit morbid.

  4. puzzled

    Like as per usual the Emergency Ambulance Service has again been left out and no thanks or appreciation for them or the Red Cross nor any of the medical team that worked this funeral and I find it very distasteful shame on you

  5. gg

    A marriage…. a celebration between a man and his family
    A love between a politician and his Country
    Fruits and delicate flowers borne beside aqua marine waters
    Under a soft blue solar sky
    A caress between dew and flowers
    In the heat of the day a sudden shuttered
    Small wet, sparkling jewels of light descend from our eyes
    A shooting star caresses the St. John sky
    Whispering a common vow
    Never ending love, never ending hope and a spirit of truth

  6. permres

    theWatcher has said in another post:

    “Though not a joyful occasion, this day was executed with the millitary precision of a first-world nation and certainly show-cased Barbados to our foreign dignitaries, and the world watching that we possess the ability to run with the horsemen.”

    These are my sentiments also, and coupled with the emotions stirred during the whole ceremony and displayed openly by so many people, his family, friends, dignitaries and the ordinary person, were a fitting tribute to a great man.

    However, I wish to make two observations. My first is to ask about the wisdom of choosing the Kensington Oval for the funeral service? I appreciate it was to give as many Barbadians and visitors as possible the chance to attend the live service, but the Oval was not filled to capacity. This may have been because of reduced numbers following Tropical Storm Tomas, as many of us are even now still picking up the pieces. To dress for and attend a funeral would be just too difficult. But in any case would it have been better to have chosen an indoor accommodation (the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium had already been picked for an alternative if inclement weather on the day demanded it), and have it filled to capacity with hundreds if not thousands outside? Large screens could have tramsmitted the service to these people, the weather being fine.

    Barbadians are renowned for their diligent attendance at funerals, and many a church is filled to capacity, and sometimes with an over-spill outside the church. Of course, as is so common in Barbados, everyone would be dressed appropriately. For instance, I did not see hats on many of the ladies at Kensington Oval.

    Continuing on this first point, I say that Kensington Oval is really theatre-in-the-round, a well-known concept in theatrical circles. The big evangelical Christian meetings held in the large stadia of the USA are arranged thus (Billy Graham springs to mind), and therefore this service should have been arranged so, increasing the capacity even more, if that was what was required. Sadly on this occasion, a decreased capacity would have been adequate.

    My second point is to comment on the apparent reserve of the people lining the route. Many tears yes, but I guess it is within the Barbadian persona that exuberant displays of emotion are not common, such as we witnessed at Princess Diana’s funeral. The military precision of the day was truly magnificent, but I do hope it did not help to curb the outward expression of the emotions which were certainly being felt.

  7. Lady Anon

    @permres

    While I understand your comments, the open atmosphere at Kensington Oval could be seen as just that – open, all-embracing etc. 11,000 could have been accommodated and 11,000 would have been accommodated I am sure if Tomas did not pass by.

    If the event was held at the Gymnasium, you would have had 5000 or so inside and another 5000 outside and separated by walls and structures.

    The Rt. Hon. Errol Walton Barrow’s service was held at the National Stadium – the venue at the time which would have accommodated the numbers.

    Thanks also to all those persons who are not high enough up on the totem pole to be publicly acknowledged but whose contribution to the success of the event is just as important.

  8. BFP

    Hello puzzled,

    Hey, like we said we didn’t put everybody in by name but we appreciated them all. That’s why we invited comments from readers about who else should be included.

    A shame you had to taint your comment with such venom instead of just keeping focused on the folks you wanted to thank and recognize.

  9. what will they think of next

    The whole thing was simply wonderful. It shows what we are capable of if we put our heads together and work as a team.

    Maxine McClean Barbadians will remember you for a long time to come.

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  12. nap

    Lets not forget the Scouts,St.Leonard’s Boys and Girl Guides,who line the road

  13. mini

    only one comment need be made,

    All Barbadians should be proud of the of the proceedings that took place on Wednesday 03.11.10 when a great, gentle, down-to-earth man was honoured with a fitting and well planned funeral. Thanks to all no matter how big or small your contribution. That day re-confirmed why I am proud to be a Barbadian even though I reside abroad. God will now care for him.

  14. i am a bajan living in barbados and england, i was starting a carreabean cruise from england celebrating my 70th birthday.on my birthday 1 11 2010 the ship docked in barbados i was honored to be able to view the late pm. body. our last meeting was at alara court in august 2008. a good man, i wish peace for his family (elsa perry).

  15. Betty Barker

    I was never more proud to be a barbadian when I saw the decorum, pompt and circumstance at the late Prime Minister’s funeral. You have elevated our Island to a higher level in the western hemisphere.
    I just returned from Barbados and was envigorated by the uplifting standards presented on the radio. Standards that are no longer upheld by some of the great nations. I am so proud of you, Please continue to be who you are, with God’s help and blessings.

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