The role of Governor General is not ceremonial, and Sir Clifford Husbands dispelled the myth that he was some figurehead.
Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur told the House of Assembly this morning that he held weekly meetings with Sir Clifford when he was the country’s leader and routinely shared Cabinet papers with the former Governor General.
As Parliament paid tribute to the late head of state, who died on October 11 at his home in St James, Arthur said Sir Clifford exemplified the very best aspects of Barbados and performed his role as Governor General “in his own way”.
“He functioned wherever the Constitution and the law made provision to ensure that there was good governance in the country,” the former Prime Minister told the Lower House.
“There was a tradition in Barbados which I hope still exists where the Prime Minister has a weekly audience with His Excellency the Governor General, and the Governor General under my Cabinet had the same Cabinet Papers as every member of Cabinet and he did not take that responsibility lightly.
“He did not seek to get involved in running the Government, but his advice was always available and offered with a sense of propriety.
“There are various aspects of law that put a duty on the Governor General to make decisions. These are not ceremonial,” Arthur told the House.
In this connection, he cited legislation governing the role of the Commissioner of Police which states that the chief crime fighter was answerable only to the Governor General and remarked that he once reminded Sir Clifford that the top cop was “his commissioner”.
According to the Independent St Peter Member of Parliament: “Sir Clifford was exemplary in every manner in which he functioned as our head of state. I enjoyed my Thursday audiences with His Excellency.”
The former Prime Minister said Sir Clifford exercised his role without fear or partiality and commended him for his dedication to a life of public service.