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Farewell Brother David, Farewell
Growing up in Barbados, my peers and I shared a passion for sports and a keen interest in local, regional and international politics. We would debate the issues of the day, the ideological differences between political groupings – which party supported the working class and which supported big business.

We would keenly watch parliamentary discussions, impressed particularly with the oratory skills of the leaders of the day. I closely followed the careers of many of our leaders, including the late Prime Ministers Errol Barrow and Tom Adams, former Minister of Finance Sir Richard Haynes and Governors General Dame Nita Barrow and Sir Hugh Springer, both of whom personally and positively impacted my life.

I was particularly impressed with both the delivery and literary skills of many of these outstanding Barbadian leaders whose lives and work inspired today's younger generation of politicians, including the recently deposed Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley – who recently was unceremoniously forced to step aside for the return of the former Prime Minister Owen Arthur to party leadership.

The Honourable David Thompson

The generation of leaders inspired by the Bajan legacy includes the recently departed Prime Minister David Thompson whose life of service to the Barbadian people ended prematurely over the weekend in late October after a brave battle with pancreatic cancer. Switching on the old faithful BlackBerry on Saturday morning, I awoke to an unusual amount of text and voice messages recounting that the country's beloved and popular Prime Minister's mission on earth had ended. Indeed, he began a new life in the loving embrace of Almighty God to whom he grew closer during his final days.

In the ensuing days, I reflected on the positive impact he had on Barbadians in all walks of life, including myself. We shared a mutual admiration for one another, and prior to his assuming office in 2008 we shared phone, text and email exchanges that were always enlightening. A distinct honor I will always cherish came a year ago when I introduced him at an event which focused on entrepreneurial development.

David Thompson's departure at 48 lamented unfilled potential but I think many of his goals were actually accomplished, and he has left a vision, a distinct road map and a sound foundation on which to build the future of Barbados. The Lord certainly knows best, and with David Thompson now called to Higher Service, we owe it to him and leaders past to make our contribution to our island home. Let's join hands and show how much we cared for David Thompson and show our appreciation for his shining service to Barbados. By so doing we honor him, his family and the country to which he gave so much of his life, talents and love. Rest in peace Brother David. Your legacy lives on.

Bevan Springer, a New York Amsterdam News columnist who writes frequently on travel and tourism issues as well as the Caribbean Diaspora, is the President of the New Jersey-headquartered Marketplace Excellence, Inc. - a full service, integrated marketing agency committed to excellence in the fields of public relations, marketing and media coaching. He also produces the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism - CMEx
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