Eight years ago, Former Prime Minister of Barbados David Thompson died on October 23, 2010 after a brief bout of pancreatic cancer.
On Tuesday, a Barbados TODAY team visited his graveside in the St John Parish Church yard and were greeted with flowers which were laid to commemorate his memory.
Responses from residents in Colleton St John were mixed as some persons fondly remembered him, while others questioned whether the former Prime Minister should be remembered at all.
Mullin Frank told Barbados TODAY that Thompson was his personal friend and he would often come to his Colleton St John home where they would engage in conversation.
“He was my personal friend, Thompson. I was really sorry when I heard that he died. Otherwise, he was a very nice man, that is for sure. I cannot say nothing more about Mr. Thompson besides he was very good,” Frank said, adding that he has fond memories of watching the late Prime Minister engaging with people underneath a nearby breadfruit tree.
“When he come to keep meeting, I used to tell him go somewhere else and get votes as you have the votes already, and he did it and he get in, and I felt pleased. His death really hit me because I was not home. I remember Thompson from time to time because he was a good man. You do not lose a bad man. You always use a good man,” Frank said.
One of his neighbors, Aaron Collymore was not of the same opinion, boldly stating that the late David Thompson had done nothing for the parish.
“I glad he dead. I do not know what the people praising he up for because he has done nothing. He has done nothing. He has done nothing and they have some people out here that believe that he is the best thing after slice bread. All I asked them is to show me what he has done as he has not done anything for St John.
The St John resident stated that they were other great men and women who lived in the parish who had died and no one spoke about their legacy.
“I do not know why people come about asking about he because they had greater people up here and I ain’t hear nobody asking about them. Since that man come to St John, he destroyed the community spirit. He kill all the sports in St John and all the cultural activities in St John but people still believe in he,” Collymore said.
Another resident who gave only the name, Gregston, said that the late David Thompson was his personal friend and he would have spent time at his Colleton St John residence.
“He was a good person, he was nice. I remember that day [that he passed]. Thompson was my personal friend, you know. He used to come here and shout me,” he said.
Despite being friends with the late David Thompson, Gregston told Barbados TODAY that he was happy to see the end of the Democratic Labour Party’s rule in St John.
“St John people should have [gotten] rid of them since Thompson dead. Them should have been gone,” he said.
One man, who asked us to call him Ras, said he missed the late David Thompson and he believed that had Thompson been alive, the parish of St John would still be under the Democratic Labour Party’s rule.
“If David was alive things would be better for [us]. I do not think that the Barbados Labour Party would have had a chance to get back in,” he said, adding that he had meals with the late Prime Minister at his Colleton, St John residence.
“David would sit and eat with me. Me and David used to be together a lot. We would chill out, drink and he would come by me. One night I can remember David came by me to eat something called Indian Summer, which is cornmeal steamed with spice mixture. But you know what they say, that good people do not last long,” he said.
Ras said that the legacy of David Thompson was clouded by his successor and widow, Mara Thompson’s treatment of residents in the community. He said this has led to the cancellation of programmes and initiatives Thompson would have started, such as the annual David Thompson Memorial Cricket.
Other residents declined to comment about their feelings on the anniversary of Thompson’s death. Thompson was the Member of Parliament for St John from July 16 1987 to October 23, 2018. He was the sixth Prime Minister of Barbados. Along with his wife, he left three daughters to mourn his passing. (LG)