Opposition Leader Mia Mottley.

Opposition Leader Mia Mottley.

Opposition Leader: Sir Clifford was a nation builder

AN extraordinary Barbadian.

That’s how Opposition Leader Mia Mottley described the late Sir Clifford Husbands GCMG, KA, QC, who served as Governor General of Barbados from June 1996 until he retired in October 2011. He died on October 11, 2017.

Mottley while sharing anecdotes about her professional interaction with Sir Clifford over the years, said the word “dignity” best describes his character, adding that it was no surprise that he would rise to become the Head of State of Barbados.

“It would not have been controversial because in Sir Clifford was a man of great virtue,” she said.

Mottley noted that every November he would ask her why doesn’t her generation understand the importance of nation building, suggesting that if a child could attend the independence parade or any public ceremony to celebrate independence four or five times during their school time, that child would have a keener appreciation of what it means to be a Barbadian.

Reflecting on her time as Minister of Education, Mottley said she was amazed by the amount of persons, young and old, who had no sense of belonging. “It struck me that while this was being stated in the context as a family, the conversations with Sir Clifford were in relation to the family as a nation. What it means to be a Barbadian.”

She added that the tone set by Sir Clifford as the Head of State was above the “hurly burly of politics. “There has to be an entity, a person, an institution, a set of institutions, that help to preserve integrity of this thing called Barbados. We have to be careful not to make it partisan. There is enough partisanship in the rest of this country. If this country is to endure then we need to ensure there are certain institutions whose integrity can remain unquestioned.”

Alluding to his high standards, Mottley also recalled his keen interest in the protection of the Constitution of Barbados.

“That was the primary point at which most of our substantive work with the Privy Council was engaged. This related to the question of capital punishment and his absolute clear belief that the Constitution of Barbados was sacred and that no international entity could direct the people of Barbados through its Constitution on how it should do its business.

“We amended the Constitution in order to take into account certain precepts that he felt were necessary as a preemptive action to protect the functioning of the Privy Council.”

Mottley expressed regret that more is not done to preserve the life and times of persons who have contributed to Barbadian society. “More and more I am convinced that we do our self a disservice in the era of technology of not recording our people.”

“A time is going to come when young Barbadians will want to know 50 years from now – the same way I am fascinated by the period of time around the riots and after that from the mid 30s to mid 50s – and there is so little information.”

She said Sir Clifford understood the importance of nation building, he understood the virtue of values, the commitment to excellence and the need to preserve standards.

“He really was a renaissance man with an eye for beauty that he wished to reflect and share upon. I feel privileged to have known him.

“For his was a contribution for sure that history must record. That he was one of the builders of this nation. And that his was done with distinction and elegance and with a sagacity that would inspire others as we continue to build out Barbados,” she said. (JH)

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