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Thousands of Barbadians gather for PM's funeral

Thousands of Barbadians gather for PM's funeral

Thousands of mourners, many weeping, lined the streets of Barbados' capital Wednesday to catch a glimpse of the flag-draped coffin of Prime Minister David Thompson, who lost a yearlong fight with pancreatic cancer.
Crisply uniformed soldiers marched alongside a white hearse holding Thompson as it slowly drove into the Kensington Oval cricket stadium for an emotional state funeral.
Barbados-born pop star Rihanna and reggae singer Luciano joined Thompson's relatives, friends and various regional leaders to bade a final farewell to the leader who led his Democratic Labor Party to victory in 2008 elections.
The 48-year-old Thompson, who became prime minister of this Caribbean nation of 270,000 people in January 2008, died Oct. 23 at his private residence in St. Philip. He had been ill since March and traveled to New York several times for treatment.
Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who is also chairman of the Caribbean Community bloc, told mourners that the region "has been left much poorer for the loss of one of its distinguished leaders."
"All of us .... will miss his wise counsel, his timely and effective interventions, his calmness even in contentious debates and that frankness that was so often tempered with his inimitable dry humor," Golding said.
Thompson had declined to discuss his condition until September, when his doctor revealed that the island's leader was undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer.
Shortly before his death, Thompson reshuffled his Cabinet to pass many of his responsibilities to other ministers. He made the announcement during a radio address instead of going on camera so islanders would focus on his message, not his appearance.
Freundel Stuart, who was attorney general and deputy prime minister, succeeded Thompson as prime minister.


Updated : 2021-07-24 22:54 GMT+08:00