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 Statement by Parliamentary Representative for Castries North West - Babonneau on the death of the late Allan Bousquet Sr.

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Statement by Honourable Michael Gaspard, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Human Services, Family Affairs and Gender Relations and Member of Parliament for Castries North-West Babonneau

on the Death of the Late Allan Bousquet Sr.

It is said somewhere that "death comes like a thief in the night." If that is so, then death robbed us last Saturday morning of one of the best men I have ever known. Indeed, death Ė whether dictated by God or Nature Ė robbed our dear land of one of the great sons to whom it gave birth. But most of all, it is the people of Castries North-West Babonneau who have lost the man they have loved most, the man who did the most for that special constituency, the man who treated each like his son or daughter, brother or sister.

Mr. Allan Bousquet Sr. has been a national institution in his own right. He stood out among his colleagues in government and in parliament. He served his party and government. But most of all, most important to him, number-one on his personal agenda, has always been the people of Babonneau. He made no bones about it. He represented his constituents fearlessly. He stood up for them for jobs, for places at school for their children, for everything that was there to be had. To him, Babonneau was all. (Pou Misye Booskay, whole la-terre-a cíest Babonneau.)

It is because of his tenacious application of his own personalised brand of the principle of representation that he became the man of the people, the simple and ordinary hero that he was in the eyes of not only the people of Babonneau, but also the people of St. Lucia at large. The people of St. Lucia respected him as a sort of folk hero, the epitomy of political representation, the essence of what a representative can be in the eyes of his constituents.

I will certainly miss Mr. Bousquet for many reasons. Among them, obviously, is the fact that I have inherited part of his legacy. The people of Castries North-West Babonneau will expect no less of me than they got from Mr. Bousquet, which, I must say, is a very tall order (but not one thatís impossible to surmount).

(Nou kai manchay Misye Booskay pas e-pate yon nom ordinaire en zye jean Babonneau, eh-bien en zye jean Ste Lisi. E settay yon nom honowab, yon ti nom semp ki te yon gwan ekzamp an zye pep Ste Lisi!)

I, personally, have learned much from the late Mr. Bousquet. On every occasion that we spoke since my election as the MP for Castries North-West Babonneau Ė whether at his home at Morne Du Don or at his bedside when I visited him before his untimely death - he always offered good advice. He always suggested how to do something or the other for the constituents, somewhere or the other, in the constituency. And every time I spoke to him before that, he exuded a kind of feeling that clearly showed that had it not been for time and age, the political landscape in the constituency might Ė just might Ė have been different.

Apart from inheriting his political legacy at the constituency level, so far in my time in government, I have inherited also senior roles in the ministries he served in the most. Here again, I am confronted with the historical coincidence of having to sit where he sat. And here too, Mr. Bousquet left his stamp in the fields of education and health. The evidence is there at Victoria Hospital, for example. And it is there too at every school in this country.

Clearly, therefore, the late Allan Bousquet Sr. will be missed by us all. We will miss him for who he was and for what he did for our community and for what he did for our country. (Nou kai manchay-i an-shai. Nou kai bien manchay-i, pa selman pou ki-moon e te ye, mais o-si pou ki sa e zha faire pou Babonneau ek pou peyi nou. )

We will definitely miss him. But as we do so, we will have to strive also to ensure that our community and our country continue to pay tribute to him and to honour him.

There are many ways of remembering him and keeping the memory of this great son of the soil alive. But one of the best ways would be to ensure that the work he began and sustained so many years ago continues in the constituency of Castries North-West and Babonneau. This I pledge to do as the sitting Member of Parliament for the community he served so well and for so long. I pledge to serve as well (and hopefully for as long) as he has.

The official funeral being accorded the late Mr. Bousquet will be with all its attendant rites and rights. I invite all my constituents; all those who admired him, indeed all St. Lucians to attend what will be our final walk with him. (Misye Booskay kai ni yon leteman offisyel ek toot se rites-la ki ka alle avec un leteman pou un moon kon li. Mwen ka kwiye assou toot jean Babonneau, too jean Ste Lisi, pou attande leterman-la. Annou toot sorti avec pwan denye mache-nou avec Misye Booskay.)

In addition, I call on all my constituents to do whatever you can between now and the funeral by way of memorial and commemorative activities. Letís remember him and talk about him in every nook and cranny of Babonneau. Letís sing praises to him. Letís ensure his memory is kept alive. And most of all, letís ensure that the spirit of Joseph Robert Allan Bousquet lives on.

Since pressing matters of state will have me out of the country for the next few days, I have personally expressed my deepest condolences and that of my entire family to his sons and daughters, and through them to his entire family. However, I will be back for the funeral.

In the meantime, may his soul rest in peace. (Bondye, kitay líam-li pose en paix!)

June 4, 2000


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