On behalf of the youth of Barbados, and in particular those affiliated to the National Youth Forum (NYF), we would like to convey our deepest sympathy to the wife, children, parents, extended family and friends of the late Prime Minister, the Honourable David John Howard Thompson. We share the grief of the nation at the passing of one of our greatest political leaders.

Mr. Thompson was an outstanding role model for young people. Even while at school he showed considerable interest in public service and an abiding concern for the most vulnerable members of society. He subsequently, pursued a career as an educator, a lawyer and a politician. The common thread that ran through all his work was a love of people. He brought to politics a sincerity, a passion for justice and a sense of decency.

As the Minister responsible for youth development in the early 1990’s, he was a tireless campaigner for the rights of young people. Under his watch, a series of youth programmes and projects, including the Barbados Youth Service and Youth in Business Programme were introduced to help young people realise their potential. More recently, he was the inspiration behind the Youth Manifesto of 2008 and the commitment to formulate a National Youth Policy. One of the first fruits of the Draft National Youth Policy is the National Youth Forum.

Since 4th July 2010, when the National Youth Forum was launched, we have had the privilege of helping to establish this initiative. The NYF is designed to give young people a voice, to reach out to them in their communities, to showcase their talents and to empower them to participate fully in the decision making process.

It is most unfortunate that David Thompson did not live long enough to see the seeds he planted as Prime Minister bear fruit. Hence, the greatest tribute we can pay to him is to commit ourselves to work hard to realize the dream he had for Barbados and to create the conditions for young people to play a vital role in the birth of a better Barbados.

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