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Barbados: A Final Farewell

Barbadians paid their final respects to the late Prime Minister David Thompson this week. One of the youngest leaders in the region, Thompson passed away on October 23 from pancreatic cancer; a state funeral took place on Wednesday and bloggers took the opportunity to pay tribute to the man and his life's work.

Barbados Free Press gave periodic updates:

12:08pm The procession is moving from President Kennedy Drive to Eagle Hall, and from there continuing on.

11:43am The National Anthem. The service ends and folks remain standing as the body is taken from Kensington to St. Johns Parish Church for burial.

11:05am The descendants of slaves and of slave owners sing together Amazing Grace, a song written by John Newton. Once a profane sailor on a slave ship, Newton turned Christian and then abolitionist. The reality of who we are and where we’ve come from is never far away in Barbados.

9:00am Dark clouds and rain on one side of Kensington Oval, blue sky and sun on the other. A fitting message for this day…

The Bajan Reporter posted photos of certain vantage points along the funeral procession's route, noting that “some of those who came to give their respects were waiting from as early as 6:30 am in the Eagle Hall junction” and that “no drizzle would stop [people] from giving their final goodbye to Barbados'…youngest Leader.”

Barbados Underground republished the text of the late Prime Minister's eulogy, while Cheese-on-bread! thought that the service was “moving”, and was pleased to see that several regional leaders attended the funeral:

At Kensington Oval, dignitaries and the man-on-the-street gathered to pay their last respects. Some of the Heads of Government in attendance were PM Hubert Ingraham of the Bahamas; PM Denzil Douglas of St. Kitts; PM Tillman Thomas of Grenada; PM Baldwin Spencer of Antigua; PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar of Trinidad and PM Bruce Golding of Jamaica.

My Barbados Blog called the occasion “a very sad day for Barbados”, while BFP thought “Prime Minister Thompson’s funeral [was] as good as any funeral could be”, summing it up like this:

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.

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