Leacock remembers Sir Fred for his sound advice
PRIME MINISTER Dr Ralph Gonsalves (forefront, third from right) and family members of Sir Frederick Ballantyne look on as his coffin is lowered into the tomb.
January 31, 2020

Leacock remembers Sir Fred for his sound advice

Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, St Clair Leacock, paid tribute on Nice Radio Wednesday to the late Sir Frederick Ballantyne, hours before the commencement of the state funeral for the late head of state.

REVEREND AdolF Davis (left) and Bishop Leopold Friday leading the procession out of the church after the service

“I did in fact have a very personal relationship with him, while in Parliament. As we would say in local parlance, we hit it off, very well, and I will never know the reason,” the MP said on radio.
“I was conscious that he appeared to favour me, even at times when I would attend one function or the other, he would walk up to me and, or, fix my tie, make a comment about my lapel or tie pin, and make sure that I was properly turned out”.

On occasions when Sir Frederick felt the proceedings in Parliament “were rambunctious” or that he, Leacock had lost his cool or could have handled things differently, “he would invite me to Government House, his official residence, and have a good statesmanlike and advisory conversation with me; and I always left for the better”.

Leacock said there were occasion when he would just go by to visit with Sir Frederick “but, there was also one in which I thought that I was so wrongly treated in the House and lied upon and disrespected and I went to him again for his counsel and I think the way he handled and advised me, served me and changed me to offer better service in the Parliament and outside of the Parliament.

“So I value and would always treasure those encounters.”

Sir Fredrick’s personal and friendly engagements with Leacock preceeded his role in Parliament, going back to the days when Leacock headed the local football Federation.

Leacock said several years ago, Sir Frederick was instrumental in helping pave the way for the Federation to obtain a loan of EC$100,000, with Leacock using his property as security, to enable Vincy Heat to continue in the FIFA World Cup encounter, falling just short of reaching the qualifiers.

He was an avid supporter of football “and we had discussions in which he was trying to see if we could get our team up to partner with overseas entities…. He even brought a college football team to St Vincent to bring a number of friendly games and invited Vincy Heat to Government House for a reception and hosted them well and a few footballers were able to go overseas as a consequence of that contact,” Leacock said.

“So we go back a long time and now he is gone to the great beyond.

“Each time we do that, we are reminded that we’re next…”

Leacock was among Members of Parliament who paid their last respects to Sir Frederick as his body lay in state in the House of Assembley Wednesday morning for official viewing ahead of the funeral service later that day at the Kingstown Methodist Church.