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Biography - F.A. Baron
Freedom to be Greedy
Farewell & Welcome
DA Response to Grenada
And, We were Misled
Local vs Privy Council
Thank You Dame Eugenia
Big Bad John
Travels and Travails
Trade Gap - USA & DA
In Case You Missed It
".. Your Love to Town"
Mad Men not to be trusted
Politics of Lies & Deception
Wide, Deep Transparency
Petrocaribe $ Bird Island
Nations Shall War No more
My Feeling of Insecurity
China, Admiration & Envy
Capitalism: Wounded ...
© Gordon Moreau
THANKS FOR THOSE LITTLE ACTS OF KINDNESS DONE
By Gordon Moreau
In 1995 I wrote concerning the then Prime Minister Mary Eugenia Charles. She is now the late Prime Minister. I think part of the piece is still appropriate. I stand by what I said then.
Today, I think it most timely – now that she is at the twilight of her career – to point out some of the virtues of the out-going Prime Minister. I refer in particular to her many little acts of kindness and other courses of conduct that may not necessarily have made the news.
Those acts of kindness just referred to were not done for me personally. Indeed, I advised the Prime Minister and her cabinet, in the words of James Brown, Godfather of soul:
“I don’t want nobody to give me nothing:
Just open the door, I will take it myself.”
And I told them so in writing. Unlike, Gonzalez, every point I make can be corroborated. I never lobbied for any particular assignment or position from the government, and this fact created the foundation for the credibility and respect already mentioned.
The British have a way of acknowledging the contribution made by their political leaders who bow out from the stage. It is not that Margaret Thatcher and others made no errors. But, as if to say, “all is forgiven.” They are graciously “elevated” to the House of Lords.
Larry King asked Mikhail Gorbachev thoughtfully. “History is a capricious lady; I hope it will be fair.” Even assuming she desired it, we may not have much of a dimension to which to “elevate” our Prime Minister. But, we can at least in certain respects allow history to judge her demerits and her shortcomings, and even for this moment, limit ourselves to an acknowledgement, that those who elected her to office between 1980 and 1995 did not altogether put the prime ministership in the hands of Beelzebub.
Here is an episode that happened while I was staff member at the United Nations in New York: in 1985 the United Nations was about to celebrate its 40th anniversary, and many leaders, among them the Prime Minister of Dominica, were scheduled to address the world body. In her speech Miss Charles was determined to make an appeal on behalf of China/Taiwan that had no seat at the United Nations. Mr. Simon Richards who assisted H.E. Mr. Frank Baron in his ambassadorial duties in New York, in good faith, tried to dissuade the Prime Minister from making the appeal at the time: Red China who held the seat would accuse the United States of setting Dominica up to make the appeal. The United States would feel obliged to respond to Red China. Her speech therefore could provoke an international diplomatic crisis incompatible with the 40th anniversary celebrations.
Indeed, Richards may have quietly mentioned that part of the prepared speech to his colleagues at the United States embassy to the United Nations in New York. The United States diplomat shared his concerns and advised Richards to find some way to convince the Prime Minister not to make the appeal on behalf of Taiwan. Richards had due respect for the Prime Minister which did not permit him to tell her that he had disclosed or discussed part of her prepared speech with the United States diplomats.
Eventually, the Prime Minister reluctantly gave in. She scolded members of the United Nations General Assembly for not listening but she postponed the appeal for Taiwan for another time.
Almost invariably, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and France could always depend on the friendship and support of the Prime Minister. With the benefit of hindsight, I think those countries, especially Taiwan and the United States, have responded with mere tokenism that is less than worthy of the Prime Minister’s friendship.
Shame on you, Mr. Republic of China on Taiwan. We have carried your flag, so to speak, and have given you unflagging diplomatic support. A small demonstration shrimp farm there at Belfast, or a pawpaw patch there at Canefield, is not enough. Thank you for those and other little acts of kindness done. But you can do much more, in measure commensurate with your economic might; and it is not too late to begin.
The Prime Minister has for years answered her telephone at home, thus making herself very accessible. There are many who are not prime ministers but who create all sorts of artificial barriers to speaking on the telephone. I hope our aspiring leaders will emulate her example.
There were those who “demanded” the release of Mr. Patrick John by statement in the regional press. I am not myself impressed that such an approach did any good. I believe that the private efforts of people like Louis Benoit, Thomas Baptiste and yours truly, were more effective. The Prime Minister understood the language that, if not he himself, his family had suffered enough. To her credit, she caused Mr. John to be released at a time that could not be described as opportune for her party. Most politicians might have behaved differently.
Finally, from time to time over the last several years, workers or neighbors have come to me: Their application for visas to visit the United States of America had been refused. Occasionally I would approach the Prime Minister on their behalf. I would assure her that, to the best of my knowledge, such persons would not breach the immigration laws of the United States of America. The Prime Minister, now Dame Eugenia, on my word would endorse the applications. With her signature the visas were always granted. On behalf of all those persons, and on my own behalf, I hereby publicly thank the Prime Minister for all those “little nameless unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”