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Respect due brave warriors

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These past weeks have seen several people being honoured by their peers and by their home governments.

On December 30, Sir Vincent Beache was feted by his colleagues in the Unity Labour Party administration for his 30 years in politics. It must have given Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves so much satisfaction to have been able to say a big thank you to Sir Vincent to whom he owes so much for facilitating his eventual rise to the corridors of government here. {{more}} In fact, at the ceremony, held on the grounds of the Prime Minister’s official residence, Dr. Gonsalves got the chance to let all and sundry hear from the horse’s mouth how grateful he was for the man who was now preparing to depart the stage that is active politics.

He must forever be grateful, for had Sir Vincent been a less selfless person, the history of this country may have been very different. Few would forget that time when Dr. Gonsalves laboured as a leader with a shadow of a party behind. At the same time Sir Vincent stood in front of a St. Vincent Labour Party that was in many ways a shadow of itself, without a leadership capable of exciting the imagination of the Vincentian electorate.

The eventual coming together of these forces, with its resultant casualties, is now history. And for that Dr. Gonsalves must be thankful, for he benefited from that political chemistry.

But this past week also saw another set of Dr. Gonsalves’ former comrades at arms being honoured – this time in a ceremony not initiated by officialdom. It was at a simple though very dignified grassroots ceremony held on January 6 at the Peace Memorial Hall, that location which, as Comrade Hugh Raguette told it, was once denied use by some of the same persons who were being honoured under its reconstructed roof.

Here were seven activists who had struggled, sharing many of the same ideals, perhaps ahead of their time, of a dream of a better St. Vincent and the Grenadines. One of the honourees never lived to see her dream realised, but passed on knowing that she had planted fertile seeds in the minds of those whose lives she impacted upon.

The others continue today to toil in the vineyards of a world still not perfect, but one in which their voices are still heard, their examples remain to be emulated; their sacrifice not in vain. The courage of visionary men and woman has to be admired. Their life’s work honoured always by present and future generations.

To all you brave warriors, we say thanks. Respect due.