Please permit me to briefly reflect on the life of a man I considered to be a decent and honest politician. A few days ago, when news of Former Member of Parliament, Cyril Belgrave reached me I was deeply saddened. Cousin Cyril, as I referred to him, was a unique politician who lived a very humble life. I recall that on my election to the Eight Parliament in 2001, Mr. Belgrave and Mr. Feroze Mohamed were the first set of people, on the other side, to personally welcome me to the National Assembly. Belgrave thought it was his duty to guide me. It appears that he had already alerted some members of his party that his “Cousin Lurlene” (the way he referred to me) was joining the National Assembly, as the question of our relationship was asked by some people. He did not hesitate to let me know how proud he was of me. As soon as he was done with his introductory comments, he jokingly remarked, “yuh does really carry it hard pon we when yuh deh pon dah TV”, he then started to laugh but went on to tell me that if I needed any guidance, I should feel free to ask him. For some reason, he believed that I was a young woman who should be protected from what, I believed, he thought was the ugliness of politics. However, he recognised that I was able to quickly manage.
Cyril Belgrave was a serious member of the PPP, but he also had a highly humorous side. I was intrigued by his humour. In the parliament, he helped to ease tensions, with his unexpectedly lighthearted comments. He made many of us smile, in the midst of serious debates. I recall him jokingly saying to me that I should sit on his side because he didn’t want anyone on my side of the isle to corrupt me. These are some of the moments in the parliament that made me felt human. Belgrave had a unique ability to inject humour into a highly contentious debate. He traded many jabs with the late Deborah Backer MP. They both were quick on their feet to respond to jabs.
Cyril Belgrave will be remembered as that politician who served his party faithfully, in season and out of season. As an individual, he believed in the working class, the ordinary man. He once pointed out to me that he was such a person. He lived a life without the glamour of the political office or association. He seemed not to care to share in the perceived spoils that the office may attract. Belgrave served for a long time in the National Assembly, he is the embodiment of what an honest politician looks like. He did not believe in ill-gotten gains nor did he solicit questionable favours. A brief perusal of his life works will prove this. He spent almost his entire life in politics but seem not to have been faintly influenced by his connections or position. While serving as a Member of Parliament he continued to work his regular job, in order to provide for his family. He was an example to young politicians, like me. His humility and honesty cannot be understated. I appreciated Cousin Cyril. He has left a long-lasting impression on me. We were two people with different political affiliations but were connected in other ways. His political life, itself is a sufficient contribution to national politics. The Peoples’ Progressive Party has lost a faithful comrade. These are the comrades, whose hard work and contributions should not be tossed into the dustbin of history, but rather their sacrifice and work must reflect in strategic places to remind the young people of their selfless work. Their honesty and integrity must mean something to the country they serve.
Sincere condolences to his wife, Cousin Pansy, his children, grand children and other family members. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
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