Passing Parade
October 26, 2006

Passing Parade

Since we last celebrated our anniversary of nationhood, we bid adieu to dozens of Vincentians who, because of their contribution to this small state, could or should be considered nation builders. Most of these citizens never rose to national prominence, but there were a few who did. We briefly salute a few of those persons and their contribution at this time of independence. {{more}}

St Vincent and the Grenadines said goodbye to 44-year-old Glenn Ian Jackson on March 15, 2006 at a funeral at the Kingstown Methodist Church that has been described as the largest in living memory. Jackson first came to national attention as a radio announcer at the National Broadcasting Corporation. He quickly learned the power of radio, and honed his skills as a community mobilizer, championing many causes including the plight of banana farmers and the rights of consumers. He revolutionized the way radio is used in this country with his interactive radio programme “Shake Up”.

Jackson served as Press Secretary and Personal Aide to the Prime Minister from March 28, 2001 until his death. He died from a single bullet to the chest. His body was found in his vehicle on the Cane Garden main road at about 1:45 p.m. on March 6, 2006. Francis Williams, a 23-year-old man of Sion Hill has been charged with his murder. The preliminary inquiry into the case has been adjourned to Thursday, November 02 and will be heard by Chief Magistrate Simone Churaman.

In April of this year, former police commissioner, Robert Julian O’Garro M.B.E. gave his final salute. Commissioner O’Garro enlisted in the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force on October 6, 1942, and exactly 30 years later, on October 6, 1972, he was appointed Commissioner. He served in this position until his retirement in April 1977.

In his retirement, Commissioner O’Garro took a keen interest in the development of his country and was a frequent letter writer to the local newspapers.

Another former police commissioner, Lt Col Sydney A. Anderson, M.V.O., O.B.E., Q.P.M., who was born March 17, 1916 in Jamaica bid a quiet farewell this year. He was Police Commissioner of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force from September 9, 1954 until December 31, 1970.

He was a founding member of the local chapter of the Partners of the Americas, the American Field Service (AFS) student exchange programme and Big Brothers and Sisters of the Liberty Lodge Boys Training Centre. Colonel Anderson as he was known, instituted continuing education programmes for the officers and men of the police force. He also introduced the police guest night and cultural programmes while at the helm of the Force. Col. Anderson passed away peacefully at his home on August 29, 2006 and was buried at sea on August 30, 2006.

Eustace McNevin Nash “Mr Green Finger” died on December 8, 2005. Nash was a former agriculturalist who on his retirement started the popular Green Finger Garden Supplies, a gardening supplies store. He was laid to rest on December 12, 2005 at St. George’s Cathedral in Kingstown.

VILNA MARGARET McINTOSH COX was born on September 3, 1915. She died on Wednesday March 8, 2006 at the age of 90. Vilna McIntosh Cox was President of the Communicants Association of the Anglican Church that established the “Soup Kitchen”. She was a foundation member of the Music Council, the Carnival Improvement Committee and the St Vincent Council of Women. She was a member of the Board of Education and the Public Assistance Board.

Cox was the President of the St Vincent Netball Association for 14 consecutive years and a member of the St Vincent Planned Parenthood Association. She was the first woman to lead a protest march through the streets of Kingstown in a crusade for a court for the Netball Association. She was a powerful member of the Central Housing and Planning Board for 17 years.

In 1953 she was awarded the Coronation Medal. She was a founding member of the St Vincent Labour Party and at the first Convention was elected Woman Vice Chairman. She spearheaded the formation of the Party’s Women’s League and was its first President.Cox held the distinction of being the first woman to run and be elected a member of the Kingstown Town Board. She received twice as many votes as the total of the votes of the four men against whom she ran. That was in 1953. In 1958 she was awarded the MBE for community service.

We lost another pioneer female business woman and politician since our last Independence anniversary. Theo Saunders, a pillar of the Roman Catholic Church died in March, 2006. She was a member of the Legion of Mary of the Roman Catholic Church and the St Vincent Benefit and Educational Club.

Blessed with a beautiful soprano voice, Saunders was a member of the St Vincent Music Council and a founding member of the Kingstown Chorale. She was also a member of the St Vincent Red Cross Society.

She is perhaps best known as the proprietor the Theo Saunders Shop which carried a few niche items like crochet material, thread, wool, needles, along with fabric. She was also a professional seamstress. As a candidate of the Labour Party, Saunders once unsuccessfully contested the Kingstown Board elections.

Former Windward Islands, Middlesex County and England cricketer Neil “Nellie” Williams died on March 27 in St Vincent following a brief battle with pneumonia. He was 43. The medium-fast bowler, who represented the Windward Islands between 1983 and 1993, also played for Middlesex in the English County Championships. He represented England in one Test (v India in 1990 at the Oval).Williams was hospitalised on February 23, 2006 when he fell into a coma as a result of a brain stem infraction. Williams, a former sports columnist with Searchlight newspaper was a founder and coach at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Academy.

Aberdine Eilene Browne died on November 22nd 2005 aged 56 years. This outstanding nurse educator started her working life as a teacher (1964 – 1970). There after, the rest of her life was spent in the field of nursing. Firstly, as registered nurse and registered midwife from 1974 to 1978, a tutor at the School of Nursing, 1980 to 1988, Senior Nursing officer in Charge of the School of Nursing, 1988 to 1997. She was Principal of the School of Nursing from 1997 to 2001. She then transferred to the Ministry of Health as Director, HIV/AIDS/STI Prevention and Control Programme. She then took early retirement in favor of a contract with the General Technical Assistance Services Division (GTASD) of the Commonwealth Secretariat in the position of Medical-Surgical and Community Health Expert to the Kamuzu College of Nursing, University of Malawi in Malawi. She died less than one month after returning from Africa.

Dr Errol Gladstone King passed away in St Vincent on Sunday August 13, 2006 at the age of 64 years. His funeral service was held on August 18 at St. George’s Cathedral.

An exceptional student of the St Vincent Grammar School, King was at the time awarded the “Island Scholarship” in 1959 which enabled him to read for his MBBS degree at the University of the West Indies.

Dr. King worked for most of his professional life in New York and Arkansas, but returned home for four years during the 1980s – “to give back” to his country of birth – as an attending surgeon at the Kingstown General Hospital. From there, King returned to New York, where his community activism expanded significantly. He was a member of the New York-based St Vincent and the Grenadines-American Medical Association, member of the Guild of Graduates of the University of the West Indies, member of the American National Medical Association, and member of the Washington-based National Coalition of Caribbean Affairs. He was President of Friends of the St Vincent Grammar School for several years; representing this organization on the Council of St Vincent and the Grenadines Organizations, Inc., and serving as the Council’s President many times; making gifts of trophies to the Grammar School for Speech Night awardees; paving the way for young Vincentians to obtain financial aid to attend American universities and using his own finances to subsidize their aid packages or pay for their applications; and providing track suits for a Grammar School track and field team at his own expense.He sourced uniforms for the SVG National football squad, was involved with the SVG Council’s purchase of medical supplies for the SVG hospital; and with the health fair sponsored by Vincentian nurses in New York. King sought scholarships for many students at home, enabling two to attend the University of Arkansas on a tennis scholarship. He returned to St Vincent in August 2004 where he enjoyed a quiet retirement.

The 2006 Fisherman of the Year has won his last competition and has followed in the way of his father. Glenroy “Doppy” Payne died on July 14, 2006. He drowned in an area off Bequia while on one of his regular fishing expeditions. Fifty four years ago while Payne was yet a fetus in his mother’s womb his father also succumbed to the deadly unpredictability of the sea.

Just one month earlier, Payne captained the 25-foot pirogue with a 75 HP engine called Okella that returned the heaviest catch for 2006: 7,772 pounds. Payne received the Fisherman of the Year award at the prize giving function held to wind up the month of activities at the Calliaqua Playing Field on Monday June 5. His prize included a 75 HP engine.

On September 7, 2006, 18 year old Patrice Leslie-Anne Bascombe succumbed to injuries she obtained in a motor vehicular accident on Tuesday, September 05 at Redemption Sharpes.

The talented youngster who won numerous awards in the National Dance and Gospel Festivals had aspirations of attending a university in the United States where she hoped to study Performing Arts while majoring in business. She was a former student of the St. Joseph’s Convent Kingstown, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College and the St Vincent Technical College.

Patrice, who was one of two finalists selected to represent St Vincent and the Grenadines at the regional level of the Digicel rising star competition was laid to rest after a funeral service attended by hundreds at the Diamond Deliverance Assembly at Diamond on September 17.