Daly Bread: Celebration of life—toast to Dumas, de la Bastide and Brown

It is 22 years to the day that my very first column appeared in the Sunday Express newspaper. It has done so every Sunday since, save and except odd days when I let my caring editors know in advance that I will not submit a column on a particular weekend.

Easter Sunday is one such day. I am often out of town for the Easter weekend, fulfilling commitments to share the weekend with family or close friends.

Happy Easter…

Last week, had I not taken Easter Sunday off, I would have been compelled again to contrast the stress of the day-to-day circumstances of so many of our citizens with the hope of renewal and salvation that Easter brings—particularly as high on my agenda for comment, was the recent furious protestations of the Minister of Health against an allegation of shortage of critical cancer treatment drugs.

My information from the real world of suffering is that the Minister’s fury cannot deflect from the truth of shortcomings of certain cancer treatments within the public health system.

Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh (right) and Minister of Local Government Faris Al-Rawi.
Photo: Office of the Attorney General

This is a subject to which I may return and make the link to other shortages, and to the Minister’s unusual silence about progress with the voluntary blood donation system and the apparent abandonment of the proposed diabetes outreach and diabetes home management programmes.

As previously indicated, these diabetes programmes were a collaboration between the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Medicine International and several agencies in Trinidad and Tobago, including the Ministry of Health.

This week, however, I would like with my readers to join in the celebration of the lives of Reggie Dumas, who left us in the Lenten period preceding Easter, and Michael de la Bastide, who left us on Easter Saturday.

Late former Public Service head Reginald Dumas.

Their extensive achievements and justifiable reasons for their renown have been voluminously documented.  I knew both of them well. For the purpose of this column, I also acknowledge the passing of Ralph Brown earlier in the Easter weekend.

Brown was one of those who played a vital role in the defeat of the 1990 attempted coup. This has also been well documented. He was efficient and resolute in the implementation of the plan under the then Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier Joseph Theodore, to contain and defeat the attempted coup.

Referring to Brown’s role in 1990, former Minister Winston Dookeran, a hostage in the Red House, stated that “we owe him a debt of gratitude beyond normal”.

Late Major General Ralph Brown.

I invite my readers, in celebration of the lives of these citizens, to see the common threads of devotion to duty and service to country, unbowed by hostile acts they each faced.

They also resisted being co-opted by an establishment attempting to make them appear as collaborators with those profiting from the status quo.

I am not aware that they spun tales about their own accomplishments or otherwise participated in repeated public relations charades about themselves.

The late Michael De La Bastide KC, PC was a former chief justice of Trinidad and Tobago.

Another great citizen, Pat Bishop, deceased, urged those who crossed her path “to do the work”. Dumas and de la Bastide did the work decade after decade.

It is for those reasons, in addition to their many acts of distinction, that I invite readers to celebrate these lives.

I have emphasised that the passing of these citizens was at the time of Easter, at the heart of which is hope for salvation. I do so to make the contrast with the message of the Resurrection.

Renowned late music director Pat Bishop.

The forward-looking counsel of Dumas and de la Bastide will not make the future of their succeeding generations any better because there is no will or momentum to implement their ideas. We sheepishly follow the status quo.

Moreover, the status quo does not become less dread by the government’s artful use of committees to make selective pretences at reform, while persistently ignoring or burying proposals for that change and disavowing responsibility for public safety.

With reference to work of Brown and the command of Theodore—was it in vain?

Photo: A soldier waves away a photographer in Port of Spain on 31 July 1990, during the 1990 insurrection in Trinidad and Tobago.
(Copyright AP Photo/ Scott J Applewhite)

Since 1990 lamentable deficiencies in the protection of our lives and property beset us. Additionally, if the socio-economic imbalance of the status quo boils over, are there persons like Theodore and Brown within our strategic services to respond as well as they did?

More from Wired868
Daly Bread: Auditing conduct in public office; more self-control needed

An indication given in a weekly column to deal with an identified topic “next week” is one that is difficult Read more

Daly Bread: Caring about Ballai and Pierre

I begin this week with a thank you to those in the airport who welcomed me home on the Saturday Read more

Daly Bread: Practiced detachment from the killings

Last week’s column was forced to return to what I assert is the government’s unwillingness to take any responsibility for Read more

Daly Bread: Government extends blame game while crime rampages on

For some weeks this column had been focused on the good, the bad and the ugly of Carnival and its Read more

Vaneisa: “A superb specimen of the human race”—to Reggie, with love

(This column was written on the day he died, before I knew.) In January 2021, I wrote a column about Read more

Daly Bread: The road make to walk; preserve Pan On The Avenue!

The centrality of the Panorama competition to the steelband movement cannot be doubted.  However, there are some downsides to it Read more

Check Also

Daly Bread: Auditing conduct in public office; more self-control needed

An indication given in a weekly column to deal with an identified topic “next week” …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.