By Shafia London
On Saturday, 19th July 2014, the children of Mr. Elwardo Lynch held an open funeral service for him in keeping with the reverenced traditions of our society.
Our father was a man who touched the lives of many and who was affectionately loved and adored. We therefore felt it necessary to allow the entire nation to share in this moment with us to give my father the send off he rightfully deserved. Unfortunately, we were prevented from doing so to the extent to which we desired due to callous and crude politically motivated venting by some members of the congregation. Whilst we appreciate the overwhelming love and concern many had for my father and the desire to fight against what they deemed hypocrisy, there is a time and place for everything and the church was certainly an inappropriate place and his funeral an inappropriate time for what manifested.
Saturday July 19th, were the final moments that our family had with what physically remained of my father. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the choice of who was present or who was chosen to speak at his funeral should be of no relevance to those who came to pay their individual respect to my father. To rob us, his children, of this final intimate moment is a much more grave injustice to EG Lynch than any injustice any other human being could have possibly committed against him. There is unapologetically no justification for the disrespect shown to us and to my father on that day, a day that would forever remain vivid in our minds for the wrong reasons.
For if we do not show respect to the dead, we will not show it to the living. The rituals surrounding our treatment of the deceased signify the respect we have for human life itself. That’s why we prepare them decently before we bury them. We treat the deceased with this kind of reverence because to do otherwise would be to show that we have no intrinsic respect for our common humanity and for what it means to be a human being. If we don’t behave with dignity, we dehumanise not just the person who has died, but ourselves and our fellow human beings, too. The shocking behavior of a group of persons at the funeral service of my father suggest that St.Vincent and the Grenadines is suffering not merely from a political crisis, but a moral one, too — and one that reflects shamefully upon all of us.
My family reserves the right to invite or welcome who it wishes to this funeral service. No one else reserves the right but us. We could have opted for a private funeral service but instead we opened this ceremony as we were aware that my father touched the lives of many in more ways than one of many whether NDP, ULP, DRP or Green party. All are not privy to the private affairs of my family; and certainly unlike too many aspects of our nation, the private dealings of my family are not fuelled by politics.
Whilst my father performed a political job for 11 years, he spent 70 years on this earth. During that period he interacted with many persons and maintained amicable relations outside the realms of politics. My father had a job, which he carried out well and admittingly at times with unbridled passion and this job had consequences and my father was fully aware of that and accepted it. The ramifications were at time heart wrenching, but my father continued to perform the duties expected of him. Luckily and unknown to many, my father was a simple man with nomadic tendencies; the physical possessions of this world were of little consequence to him. As long as my father could read and speak, he was a contented man. My father’s life in its entirety was not defined by politics and this was something he shared with me privately.
My father unfortunately suffered from diabetes, a debilitating condition that impacts so many in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. My father’s failing health should if anything highlight the markedly high prevalence of diabetes and related factors in Afro-Caribbean population such as St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with frequent co-morbidities and increased mortality. But of course, we miss this because politics consumes us and somehow manages to be the causative factor for all things in this country.
But I digress. We, the children of EG Lynch ensured that my father was granted the best possible care even as his condition worsened, including placing him in a private facility that was able to provide adequate medical support. I use this opportunity to thank the NDP and others who have in some way whether financial or otherwise assisted us with care of my father at the nursing facility.
I can confidently assert that my father was not killed by any individual or political circumstance and those who are not privy to all the details of my father’s medical condition should refrain from making baseless assumptions to justify demented political obsessions and arguments. In fact, it saddens me, that many who voice their opinions whether red or yellow or blue or green have never once set foot to visit my father when he was ill whether at the hospital or at the nursing facility. It was then he needed support. It was then he wanted to know that someone cared. The show of irreverence at his funeral is certainly not what he wanted.
NYU professor Jonathan Haidt, in “America’s Painful Divide,” for The Saturday Evening Post once wrote and I concur: The most important lesson I learned is that each side, each team, sees some threats that face our nation, and is blind to the threats that the other side sees…
“It’s as though there are two meteorites headed for the earth — and each side is hopping mad about the other side’s inaction on the meteorite that it sees, and unwilling to take any action to stop the meteorite feared by the other side. This is the reason I’m a centrist: Both sides are right, and both sides are blind.”
Regardless of who wins the …election, (We) have some healing to do. It’s going to be difficult, but not impossible. Instead of demonizing each other, we need to make the effort to understand and respect each other’s views even if we disagree. That doesn’t mean capitulating. It’s called being open-minded.
A free but civilized people must exercise cautious discernment in separating politics from progress less we become the very enzymes causing the decay of the moral fabrics of our society. If the partisan divide is clearly wrenching even at a time of mourning, on a larger scale, it’s tearing our country apart.
Our leaders need to act now to stop this political division. I call on our teachers, business leaders, church leaders and certainly our political leaders to start in their circles to circumvent this political poison that is rapidly spreading through our small nation. I have great respect for both Dr. Gonsalves and Mr. Eustace but from my grieving heart I beg of them to lead the way to encourage their supports to respect political differences.
At the end of the day, we must all live in this country. We must limit the scope of man’s political jurisdiction to the essential duties of prudent government, only then can we enable society to achieve true progress in business, communities, families and churches. Prudent government is for what my father so passionately fought. He did not fight for us to sink to the point as a nation where his family cannot even grieve for him at a funeral. Our moral sense, which God ordained for good, should always urge us to put aside our political differences such as during the grieving moments of a family. Let us not prolong the issue. Please let my father rest in peace.
I pray for the future of my son.
Amen to that
I totally agree with EG Linch’s daughter. And I’m very disappointed with the conduct of the supporters of the NDP and the service. Indeed it shows how ancient our thinking and society is
For if we do not show respect to the dead, we will not show it to the living.
I refrained from posting anything about EG’S funeral because the way I see it, he is gone nothing we can do about that now. But when I see things like what was said here sometimes I just have to talk. We as people believe that we can treat people anyway that we feel and as long as we give them a good funeral then everything is ok. We have people who treat their mothers and daughters, family and close friends like crap, but as soon as they die we buy them the biggest most beautiful coffin and that is suppose to make everything alright, but it is not, in fact it’s a bit selfish because the only person who can enjoy the coffin are the people who are alive to see it, the dead has long gone.
“I have great respect for both Dr. Gonsalves and Mr. Eustace but from my grieving heart I beg of them to lead the way to encourage their supports to respect political differences.”
Lawd have mercy, if this thing about leadership is coming even from a grieving woman, we are truly a lost county. What is this nonsense about leadership? Oohhoo, I think I understand now, the only thing I can think about is, Dr Ralph is Pharoah and MR Eustace has to be moses trying to lead Vincentians from bondage and wickedness, because one of them is wicked as hell and the other is not. Infact Dr Ralph is so wicked, that to say that you respect him and anyone else would be an insult to that other person.
“I call on our teachers, business leaders, church leaders and certainly our political leaders”
You calling the Church leaders too? Well good luck, you might have a better chance to get them to speak out than the rest of us. They are too busy clearing vehicles from customs and getting big gifts to speak on the behalf of Jesus and what is right. Jesus might be many things, but he doesn’t give out Vehicles every Monday morning so his work can wait until the government change.Sometimes I just have to shake my head, Who we call Pastors and church leaders in SVG are nothing but wolves in sheep clothing, infact a lot of them would have sold Jesus out for a cart and Donkey and a few goats to eat, and undercut Judas selling out business. We the people in SVG always get sucked in by people title and forget to evaluate the people themselves. If a person is not good, you can put any title on them you want and they still wouldn’t be good.
Lady i feel sorry for your loss,EG was a good man I have years of his recordings and protest, but the things you say in this thing, it’s almost like you are saying that he was a hired gun and that his words were only him doing his job with no conviction and that is simply not true, he would have said the same things on a street corner or standing on a bucket and talking and that is simply not true and again I am sorry for your lost and I am sure that you are grieving, but what was the point of this article again?
I agree with much of what you say, especially the disrespect shown to the Christian faith, to your father, and to you and your family. Please accept my condolences for your loss.
But, like Bishop Leopold Friday who referred to it as a “malignant sore” in a headline story in today’s Searchlight newspaper, I think you place too much blame for our social breakdown on political divisions in SVG.
Partisan political division exist all over the world. Those who enter the political arena, especially those seeking the highest levels of power, are generally very ambitious and determined persons who will use all means, legal and otherwise, to gain and maintain power.
In SVG and other backward countries, this means taking advantage of what is already there and has always been there: an ignorant, emotionally immature, and uneducated population.
Such people are easy to fool, control, and manipulate. Such people cannot see, indeed do not want to see, behind the veil of foolish promises, cunning rhetoric, expensive building projects, etc.
Yes, the political elite may share some blame from a moral perspective. But don’t forget that in the political arena, morality always takes a back seat to the thirst for power and control.
If Vincentians want to know what is wrong with their society, they should start by looking in the mirror.
Very, very well written, Ms. London. I looked at the video on Iwitness news and I was certainly shocked and in disbelief at the total crassness and disrespect shown at the funeral of your father. I would really love to vent, but this is definitely not the time to do so.
Although I don’t know you, or didn’t know your father, please accept my condolences to you and your family, as God continues to grant you peace in the midst of your storm.
Well said! I concur with your opinion on all counts. I can attest to the fact that despite our political differences, we enjoyed an amicable relationship. I was very much aware of his medical problems and counselled him occasionally. I also know that he appreciated my visits to the hospital and at the Nursing home. May EG’s soul RIP!
My condolences to the Lynch family. I felt his daughter’s anguish as she pleaded tor silence. We cannot undo what has been done but we can make tomorrow a better day.
I had a similar experience when we tried to bury our father some eight years ago, we were disrespected, not shown any kind of respect, my mum was almost pushed to the ground, people just pushed us aside, like we didn’t matter.
They didn’t seem to understand we wanted to be able to just have those final moments with him to say our goodbyes, I felt like a stranger at my own fathers funeral service, it was very shameful, I see now that some people in St Vincent just don’t know how to behave, so cherish your memories of him during this sad time, May God bless you and your family xx
While I share the pain of the family of mr Lynch in my opinion they must bear some responsibility for the uproar.
Why print 2 sets of programs? One with the PM as a speaker then distribute another one to all without his name.
Whose responsibility is that!?
Why permit the PM to walk behind the cortège dressed as he was ,greeting people as he did grinning ,in such a sacred procession ?
Wisdom is better than gold!
Some peoples are animals.
E G is gone god bless his soul/
We all know that E G had diabetes, but what the doctors may be fail to educate his daughter about is the link between stress and diabetes, some how the lay people in SVG does have some knowledge of it. hence they made the link between his strokes and the stressful situations he was experiencing in relation to his court cases.
If you are a diabetic and you are subjected to the level of stress that he was experiencing your blood sugar goes totally out of control, madam London, you may be a professional but you are not a medic, you cannot know everything.
In my practice every day I see persons who are good today, however a stressful situation occurs in a few days, and their blood sugar is sky high, they would tell me,’ I am not eating anything different’, what is causing this? I would then let them know, that the body releases certain hormones in response to stressful situation, but what does these hormones do, push the blood sugar up even higher. Many diabetic do not know this, they go alone their merry way until they reach a breaking point, and then they go from one complication of diabetes to another, be it (retinopathy) where they lose their sight, (nephropathy) kidney failure, (CVA) cerebrovascular accident which is a stroke, (MI) myocardial infarction a heart attack.
IF the doctors in SVG are not telling patients the whole truth about diabetes they should. I think most people know of the relationship between afro-caribbean people and diabetes, however I have met afro-caribbean folks with diabetes in the 80s and 90s, perfectly healthy and not in stressful situation and they are healthy.
I do agree that what happen in the church should not of happen, but I think the individuals should be accountable for their actions, not the leader of the NDP, I listened to the radio when I could, on the days leading up to the funeral, and heard Mr Eustace and other members of his party asking persons not to do any booeing at the funeral, but they did not listen, so he should not be blamed.
Some of them got carried away with emotions maybe and decided to give Mr Gunsalves a taste of his own medicine, but the venue was not appropriate.
As you said earlier may be you should of gone for a private funeral, I think so as well, knowing the political climate at the time, however no one could of stop the persons from demonstrating in the street in close proximity to the funeral.
When the former Prime Minister of England Margaret Tatcher died, there was wide spread celebration of her death, persons ‘sang the song ding, dong, the witch is dead’, the song almost reach number one I think on the charts. No one stopped them , the only thing they could not get into the church. There you go, freedom of speach. You should of gone for a private funeral.
Somehow, I feel your impartiality, Shafia and I share your views but I say again, the PM, leader of the country and the initiator of unruly behaviour must take greater responsibility and pick up the reins for national healing to occur. REPENT PM.
I am a complete stranger to the politics or the back-story that caused the referenced behavior. The only thing I have to go by is the remarkable calm civility and nobility displayed by Shafia London at such a difficult time.
Please accept my condolences and my warmest respect for rising above the circumstances.
From the sound of this Article Miss London and Her Father must’ve been very close,condolences on your loss
When other Vincentians were out partying for Carnival Miss London had to be by her father’s side in his last moments,once again condolences
To Xavier what nonsense are you talking about. When you don’t know you don’t know so be quiet. My relatives spend the whole week with EG Lynch up to the time of his death and Where was Safia? Of course she was busy with Hairoun Beer promotion throughout the Carnival. I wish the day when we start eradicating all these fake people in St.Vincent starting with the ULP banwagon.
Everyone is talking about the dead, but what about the living. It’s not the way you treat people when they are dead that counts, but the way you treat them when they are alive. EGs daughter has the following sentence backwards:
For if we do not show respect to the dead, we will not show it to the living.
Its what you do for one when he/she is alive, which shows up when they die. If you want to send someone flowers, then send it when they are alive to cherish the thought.
My condolences to you, young lady! Your fathers funeral was not the time for reconciliation. I am sure you have learned a lesson and will cherish the love, though shown in anger by Ralphs presence, which many had for your father. You know that Ralph created this environment and hes the only one who can start to change it.
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