The late Sir Clifford Husbands was today remembered not only as the former Governor General of Barbados, but also as a loving and devoted family man, who also loved the land.
Delivering the eulogy at his near two-hour, solemn state funeral service which ended just before noon today at the St Lucy Parish Church, Queen’s Counsel Brian Clarke recalled that Sir Clifford, who was born at Morgan Lewis Plantation in St Andrew was truly “a son of the soil” and could often be found in the agricultural fields with his straw hat on.
Clarke also recalled that Sir Clifford had integrated his passion for agriculture with his role as head of state by starting the Governor General’s two-week agriculture summer camp.
“His intention was to show children that agriculture was not dreary, but the backbone for sustainability of the nation,” the Queen’s Counsel told the large gathering that included a long list of official dignitaries, led by Acting Governor General Sir Philip Greaves, ex-Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave and Lady Belgrave, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson and former Chief Justice Sir David Simmons.
Despite overcast skies and intermittent showers, several top members of the legal fraternity also turned out to pay their final respects to the island’s sixth and the longest serving head of state, who was also a former Director of Public Prosecutions, Supreme Court judge, Justice of Appeal and Chief Justice of Barbados.
Among them, Supreme Court Registrar Barbara Cooke-Alleyne, Justice Randall Worrell and Deborah Holder, master of the High Court. They were joined by several parliamentary officials, including members of Cabinet and the official Opposition, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps for the well-attended funeral service at which soloist Carole Bishop sang, “I’ll be seeing you”, and soprano Amanda Fields did an accompaniment with the Royal Barbados Police Force Band.
The bible readings were read by businesswoman Debbie Simpson and former diplomat Orlando Marville.
The late Governor General, who spent 16 years in office from 1996 to October 31, 2011, died here on October 11 at age 91.
Today he was also hailed for his devotion to his country and its people.
Speaking on behalf of the surviving members of Sir Clifford’s family, including son Anthony and daughters Laura and Sandra Dawne, Clarke also shared intimate memories of Sir Clifford’s interactions with them.
“Dad took us to school and to all our extracurricular activities and collected us. There was one car so if he had a meeting after work, we were staked out in the car until his meeting was finished,” Clarke recalled.
“We learnt from any early age that homework can be done at any location; that dinner came when we got home and you couldn’t get things your own way when you wanted,” he added.
The Queen’s Counsel also recalled that in his early years, Sir Clifford was an active member of the community, who played a role in many associations, including the Barbados Family Planning Association, the Barbados Cricket Association and the Harrison College Old Scholars Association.
“He was not an onlooker in anything that he did, except when he was at home and something needed to be done. He was really good at giving instructions,” Clarke said to laughter, while also recalling that Sir Clifford was a former rally driver and that the late Sir Harold St John used to serve as his navigator.
“The story goes, according to Sir Clifford, that they were rallying this night and they were supposed to be in St Michael, but when they emerged from a cart road and checked their surroundings, they were in fact in St Andrew – close to Andrews Sugar Factory,” he said while adding to even more laughter that “Sir Harold was an excellent lawyer, but a not so excellent rally navigator”.
During his sermon, Canon Noel Burke said Sir Clifford’s life was marked by his devotion to public service.
Referring to comments made by his formers colleagues, the senior Anglican cleric said, Sir Clifford will be remembered for his “dignity and his integrity . . . exemplary character . . . [and] sound knowledge of the law.
“All who worked with him were beneficiaries of his wise counsel, not only in the law but of life experiences. He was a man of great perception and always looked for the problem behind the problem,” Burke added.
The former Governor General was laid to rest in the St Lucy Parish Church graveyard next to his wife Lady Ruby Husbands.