Eustace: Sir John paid ultimate price for his return to politics
September 14, 2007

Eustace: Sir John paid ultimate price for his return to politics

Sir John Compton paid the ultimate price for his return to politics last year, his life!

This is the view of the Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace.{{more}}

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT, Eustace said that while it made no sense to now question Sir John’s decision to jump back into the political ring, at his advanced age, one could ignore the co-relation between his return, his illness, and subsequent death.

“Political life takes a lot of sacrifice, and one’s family and health pays a huge price,” Eustace said, shortly after hearing of the veteran politician’s death.

Sir John, 82, died on September 9 at the private Tapion Hospital on the outskirts of Castries, in the presence of his family, following months of illness.

He is to be cremated next Tuesday (September 18, 2007), following a state funeral. The date of his funeral was originally set for September 22, but was brought forward at the request of his widow, Lady Janice, a government official is quoted as saying.

A heartbroken Eustace told SEARCHLIGHT that despite his age and the rigors of politics, Sir John looked well when they spoke during last February’s Heads of Government meeting, held here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We spoke at length concerning some common party issues, and other things of mutual political interest,” Eustace said.

Eustace, however, told SEARCHLIGHT that because of the concerns about the effect of politics on a person’s health, it is important that wisdom is used.

“It is something I am really concerned about; in many cases it is unavoidable, very difficult, but we have to use wisdom to balance our lives,” Eustace said.

Eustace, whose New Democratic Party (NDP) is closely linked with Sir John’s United Workers Party (UWP), said that no one can really measure the contribution that Sir John has made to St Lucia.

“His contribution to St Lucia and the region cannot be denied or measured,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has confirmed that he will be attending the funeral of Sir John, whom he described in a letter sent to St Lucia’s new Prime Minister Stephenson King as “simply a wonderful human being.”

In the letter sent last Monday, September 10th, Dr Gonsalves described Sir John as a man with an enduring political magic, which he said was evidenced by his amazing 2006 electoral victory.

Dr Gonsalves said that Sir John Compton will go down in history as a master builder of modern St Lucia and the Caribbean.

“His unswerving commitment to St Lucia and the Caribbean, his devotion to duty, his intellect, his vision, his empathy for the poor and marginalized, his advocacy of regional unity, and his steadfastness to freedom and democracy, mark him out as one of the giants of Caribbean politics,” Dr Gonsalves wrote.

Saying that Sir John’s imperfections were minuscule, compared to his awesome strengths, talents and gifts, Dr Gonsalves said that like all leaders, Sir John, too, “suffered from the slings and arrows of misfortune.”

Quoting the biblical passage from Amos Chapter 5 verses 22-24, Dr Gonsalves credited Sir John for remaining his own man and refusing to be manipulated or controlled.

Sir John was born in the Grenadine island of Canouan, and moved to St Lucia with his family when he was 10 years old. He would go on to carve out an impressive record in the political arena for 50 years.

But for all his achievements, he will always be remembered for dusting off his retirement garb to lead his UWP to a resounding 11-6 victory over the St Lucia Labour Party, when many had suggested that his time had past.