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January 26, 2007
Comedy King laid to rest

The funeral service for Caribbean Comedy King Lucien Judson “Saluche” Small which started out as an outpouring of love, took a sour turn last week Thursday.

The pews of the Kingstown Seventh Day Adventist Church were filled to overflowing with family members and friends paying their last respects.{{more}} However, when Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves stepped to the podium to pay tribute to the fallen comedian, some members of the congregation uttered noises of disapproval.

Undaunted by the jeers, the Prime Minister said although he and Saluche never shared the same party politics, they were still friends who occasionally met at social functions and had similar interests in comedy, calypso and sports.

He described Saluche as a talented and distinguished entertainer, lyricist, comedian, husband and father who was a good human being that left a legacy as a Caribbean man.

In stark contrast, when Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace took the podium, he received a resounding round of applause and cheers from the congregation. He described Saluche as a first class comedian who would get him laughing even before he uttered a word. Eustace said he knew Saluche since he was a young boy but he also remembers a man with whom he shared meals and who was a devoted husband and father.

Eustace acknowledged that Saluche was a supporter of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) and believed that because of his affiliation to the political party he was not given work at national shows at which he could have been the MC or a comedian. Eustace said that Saluche expressed this grievance to him many times and said that he knew the deceased would have wanted him to express this sentiment.

But the political tension that was felt in the church was eased when Pastor Edson Augustus reminded the congregation that Saluche was a man who respected people despite their political persuasion.

He preached, “Politicians can’t take care of all your needs. But we have to respect them because God raised them in positions of power and in his own time he would put them out. Politicians come and go but Jesus stands forever. It is important that you put your trust in him and not in man.”

The eulogy, delivered by Saluche’s close friend Burns Bonadie was of fond memories of a childhood where Saluche who was also nick named Dick Tracey, played practical jokes and was a lover of sports. Bonadie described Saluche as a man of stature who was an excellent friend, brother, son, husband, father and entertainer.

Touching songs were rendered, scripture passages read and poems were performed by his nephew, daughter Lucia, members of his “Night Rider” radio programme, and closest friend of many years, Chubby Jackson.

The street outside the house of worship was blocked off from vehicular traffic to provide extra seating for the hundreds flocked outside the church.

Following the church service, in true celebration of the life of the entertainer, the gathering walked through the streets of the capital singing and dancing to the Kingstown cemetery where his body was finally laid to rest and adorned with many flowers, ironically next to the former Press Secretary and Personal Aide to the Prime Minister, Glenn Jackson.