Skip to Content

Celebrating the Legacies of Dumas, de la Bastide, and Brown

It has been 22 years since my first column appeared in the Sunday Express newspaper. Every Sunday, except for Easter Sunday, I have consistently contributed my column, informing my considerate editors of any planned absences in advance.

Easter Sunday is a unique occasion when I take a break from my regular writing routine to celebrate the holiday with my family and close friends.

If I had not taken the day off last week, I would have focused on exploring the daily challenges faced by many in our society alongside the themes of renewal and hope symbolized by Easter. Specifically, I would have discussed the Minister of Health’s recent denials of critical shortages in cancer treatment medications.

Despite the Minister’s passionate response, the stark reality of deficiencies in certain cancer treatments within the public healthcare system remains unchanged.

This important issue will be revisited, linking it to other shortcomings, such as the Minister’s silence on the progress of the voluntary blood donation initiative and the apparent abandonment of proposed diabetes outreach and home management programs.

This week, however, I invite my readers to honor the legacies of Reggie Dumas, who passed away before Easter, and Michael de la Bastide, who passed on Easter Saturday.

Both individuals, with their remarkable achievements and well-deserved recognition, have made a lasting impact. I also acknowledge the recent loss of Ralph Brown over the Easter weekend.

Brown played a crucial role in thwarting the 1990 coup attempt, demonstrating efficiency and determination in executing a strategic plan under the leadership of then Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier Joseph Theodore, to suppress the insurrection.

Reflecting on Brown’s pivotal role during the 1990 crisis, former Minister Winston Dookeran, who was held hostage in the Red House, expressed deep gratitude, emphasizing the exceptional debt owed to Brown.

In commemorating the lives of these esteemed individuals, I urge readers to acknowledge their unwavering dedication to duty and country, standing resolute in the face of adversity.

They resisted attempts to involve them in wrongdoing, refraining from self-promotion or superficial displays of self-interest.

Another exemplary figure, the late Pat Bishop, advocated for diligent action to all who crossed her path. Dumas and de la Bastide embodied this ethos through years of devoted service.

It is for these reasons, alongside their numerous accomplishments, that I encourage readers to celebrate their extraordinary lives.

I emphasize the timing of their passing during Easter, a season synonymous with hope and salvation, to draw a poignant contrast with the message of Resurrection.

The visionary leadership of Dumas and de la Bastide, unfortunately, may not lead to a brighter future for future generations due to the lack of drive or commitment to realize their visions. We appear content with maintaining the status quo.

Moreover, the government’s skillful use of committees for superficial reforms, combined with a persistent disregard for substantial change and accountability for public welfare, only perpetuates the existing challenges.

Given Brown’s actions and Theodore’s leadership, one is prompted to ask: Was their sacrifice in vain?

Since the tumultuous events of 1990, significant shortcomings in safeguarding lives and property persist. If socio-economic disparities worsen under the current status quo, are there individuals in our security forces capable of responding with the same valor and effectiveness as Theodore and Brown?