A defining and captivating moment
I write to highlight the character of a man whom I do not personally know but have seen and heard so much about.
It was at the service of the celebration of life for the Late PNCR Parliamentarian Mr. Winston Murray, whom I never met, that provided the opportunity for me to assess Mr. Robert Corbin the Opposition Leader and the Leader of the PNCR.
I arrived at the funeral service, with a cousin of mine, who demanded that I accompany him. We arrived there shortly after the service started, but were in time to hear much of the glorious tributes.
The chairperson in her regular interventions alluded to the splendid qualities of the deceased, while the church listened with rapped attention.
When we first arrived, we stood for some time next to some who seemed to have been staunch supporters of the deceased, whom I learnt, was hoping to be the PNCR’s presidential candidate. It was during this period that I became fearful that something obnoxious might happened at this man’s funeral.
While these people spoke of the late parliamentarian in glowing terms they were openly, making very disparaging remarks of the PNCR Leader, and were etching a plan to heckle him at the time he would have been giving his tribute. I looked at my cousin with a sign of horror and asked if he heard what these people were saying.
At that point a gentleman who came along and overheard the conversation of these people said to them that it would be the most despicable thing for them to do such a thing.
One young man was adamant about executing the plan, but he was reminded by another that the Chairperson, whom they called by first name, will set the tone and might even execute the plan for the group.
I asked my cousin to let us ease ourselves out of that zone, as I could not believe that people would use an occasion like a funeral service of someone they claim to respect to be so out of place.
The high point came, though, at the time when Mr. Corbin was to be introduced to speak, I braced myself to see whether the plan would go through and I must admit that the Chairperson “put the icing on the cake’.
Her tone and words used just before the PNCR Leader rose to deliver his tribute were most unwelcomed and unfitting for the occasion. It sparked a completely new debate among some in attendance, who claimed that her comments were out of place. I personally, was stunned.
I braced myself to see the reaction of Mr. Corbin, whom many thought might have used the opportunity to aim some remarks back at the Chairperson and the offensive group, but I waited in vain.
The gentleman has certainly raised the bar, his tribute was void of any implied or obvious rancor, and he rose with humility and spoke with a soothing dignity. There was no evidence in his tone, pitch or words that he heard any of the snide remarks made by those who had set out to embarrass him. I was captivated by his calmness and decent approach; it was a rare display of “quality leadership”. Even the chairperson, probably, did not expect this.
I hope that those who set out to discredit him can take a page out of this gentleman’s book; he has set the bar very high, even his supporters were disappointed that he did not lash back at those who used the funeral to direct their disparaging comments at him. However, for me Corbin has won my admiration, and that of many others, it was a defining and captivating moment for many of us in attendance. I have stayed far from politics for all of my life; I now find me tapping at the door of the PNCR to find out how I can become a member.
The impact of a defining moment, has stirred me and it all began with a simple show of good character, by one man.