KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The leaders of the two main political parties here yesterday paid tribute to former senator Gerard ‘Rasum’ Shallow, who died suddenly at his Mount Pleasant home Sunday night.
Shallow, who was a senator for the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) between 2001 and 2005, was pronounced dead after being found lying on his back in his yard around midnight Sunday.
He had high blood pressure and was repairing his vehicle at the time of his death and police do no suspect foul play, sources tell I-Witness News.
“Shallow is a chap I had grown to like in our party. We met on several occasions alone discussing matter related to our party and he was somebody who was very easy to talk to and we did get along quite well,” NDP president, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace said on radio Monday.
“I am really sorry to hear he has passed on, at what is a relatively young age. … he did make his contribution to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, both in the field of education and in the field of culture. … So we have lost someone who has been a contributor to this country’s development,” Eustace said of Shallow, who was also a calypsonian and teacher.
Eustace noted that Shallow, who endorsed the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) ahead of the December 2010 general election, had left the NDP.
“I don’t think I need to go into the circumstances but I am indeed sorry to hear about his passing. And I want to say to his family, especially his wife, offer them deepest condolences, not only in a personal capacity but on behalf of the New Democratic Party,” Eustace said.
“… I know that the prayers of a lot of people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines go out to his family, so that they can be strong to deal with the times ahead,” he further stated.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister and ULP leader Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said at a press briefing Monday afternoon extended condolences to Shallow’s family.
“I just want to say this that a friend of ours, “Rasum” Shallow, died last night. This morning, I prayed at the opening of the select committee … and part of my prayer was for the bereaved, which included Rasum’s wife and his family.”
Gonsalves said he was unsuccessful in his attempts to reach Shallow’s widow but left a message on her answering machine.
“We are really sorry about the passing of Rasum. He is an extraordinary Vincentian; his skill as a calypsonian, cultural artiste, his love for his students as a teacher. I really feel sorry about the passing of our brother. I extend condolences to his family,” he said.
In the calypso fraternity, Shallow is renowned for his melodic voice and his inspirational “Perseverance” among other renditions.
In 1998, Shallow contested the Marriaqua seat on an NDP ticket and lost to the Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) Girlyn Miguel, who has been representing the constituency since then.
While he was appointed a senator for the NDP after the 2001 election, Shallow endorsed the ULP ahead of the December 2010 election.
Shallow returned to the classroom in 2006 after parting ranks with the NDP. He was a teacher at the St. Clair Dacon Secondary School at the time of his death.