EDWARD BHADAISE LOUISON
19TH MAY, 2003
kind has not woven the web of life.
are one thread within it.
we do to the web we do to ourselves.
things are bound together.
is hard for me to categorize my relationship with George. In my
family we do not refer to each other as relative, we use the
word family. That's how we were brought up. George
was not just my first cousin. He was my colleague, my friend, my
comrade, I am the godmother of one of his sons, my confidante,
my comrade, my advisor. At one time, especially when we were in
our early twenties he was my escort, my traveling companion and
protector. At different stages in our lives emphases shifted
with regard to our relationship but it was always there and
I am two years older than George but mentally he was much older
than I. His wealth of experience and the pace at which he did
things disguised his age. After his death people kept saying to
me "I never knew George was that young."
paying this short tribute to George it is my intention to recall
some of the ordinary things he did that touched me and continue
to still do so.
entered the Grenada Teacher's College a few months before his
19th birthday already having taught at the St. John's Anglican
School for one year.
his first year at college, with very little money, which he
never had much of, or probably was never able to keep much of,
George helped to organize an island hopping trip to Jamaica on
board the Federal Maple. The next year he was elected president
of the student body. The energy he put into the activities of
the student council made me feel that he would not be able to
put sufficient effort into his training. However to my
amazement, George performed well and was never late with his
assignments. I don't think I am being vain when I say that
George was just bright. I believe that I am not the only person
who would attest to that. In fact this afternoon many persons
have attested to this. He was perceptive and a deep thinker. He
read widely and deeply, was willing to listen, was open to new
ideas and created ideas.
not yet 21 when he returned to his school from Teacher's
College, it was no secret that George was perceived as a threat
to the existing establishment. Being armed with new teaching
methods and interesting ideas he assumed that he was free to
practise but that was not to be.
Firstly he was withdrawn from teaching social studies and
religious education. The irony here is that at that period of
his life George was attending mass at this church on a regular
basis, was a trained reader of this church and was taking part
in organizing activities such as World Day of Prayer. The worst
came in 1974 when his class of senior students was taken away
from him and he was left with nothing to do but to draw his
salary. I cannot recall anything like this happening before,
during or after my 30 plus years in the field of education. This
did not kill George's spirit. He attended work every day and on
time and used his time for reading and writing and helping his
colleagues to prepare teaching aids. In fact he became quite
proficient in typing and
the spirit-duplicating machine during that period. Also during
that period he was able to be more devoted to the work of the
St. John's branch of the Grenada Union of Teachers. After an
inquiry it was agreed between the union and the authorities that
George be transferred to Grand Roy Government School where he
remained until he resigned to take up an appointment with CADEC
an arm of the Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC).
reflection, I believe that George and I grew closer because of
our common interest in education and human rights issues. We
discussed and planned lessons together, shared teaching aids and
argued profusely about current affairs. He helped to develop and
sharpen my interest in matters related to equal rights and
justice and against oppression. It was George who first reminded
me that "If you're not part of the solution you're part of
the problem". In other words he did not believe that we
should sit on the fence. Being my traveling companion, in 1972
we ventured out together to New York on vacation. As a high risk
taker, he borrowed the fare which was under $400 and decided
that he would find a job for about four of the six weeks to
repay his loan and purchase some presents for his friends,
parents and siblings, nine of whom were still in Grenada. This
allowed us sufficient time to visit important, historical and
pleasurable sites. The
that "people will forget what you said and what you did but
not forget how you
them feel" is so true. That unselfish act on the part of
George, I will always remember.
1979 George's life became very public. Our relationship took a
different turn. We argued strongly, differed graciously and
fought together in the interest of education. As Minister of
Education, he included me in the discussions on the
establishment of the Centre For Popular Education, The Community
School Day Programme and the National Inservice Teacher
road to the bar was a difficult one. Not merely because of the
rigours of studies but mainly because of his lack of funds.
After having lost everything through looting in October 1983,
except the clothes on his back, a ring which he had bought in
Guyana and some books which were in the family home, with no job
and no money George had to start from scratch. In an effort to
support himself and his children George even tried his hands at
trafficking in fruits and vegetables in Carriacou. He also
traded in goods from England.
tried to convince me that I too should study law. He encouraged
me to register with the University of London, to obtain books
and to sign up with Wolsley Hall for a correspondence course. He
started to study at home from some books donated by Kenrick. He
went to England almost penniless but managed to follow through
and became a successful attorney, not financially but in his
practice and service to humankind. I sometimes felt guilty about
encouraging my friends to contact him when they had problems.
Some of them he knew others he didn't but he always listened and
I finally decided to go to Leeds to read for an M.A. degree
George was elated. I stayed with him in London for a few days
and he traveled with me to Leeds to help me to settle. He used
some of his contacts to help me find accommodation and paid me a
visit several months afterwards to see how I was doing. This was
how much George cared about people.
George love means unselfishness and giving. He lived that way
and died that way.
are sad to see you go George but I know that God would not give
us anything that we can't handle. In the words of Helen Keller
I. wish to remind us that "We could never learn to be brave
and patient, if there were only joy in the world."
in Peace George and may perpetual light shine upon you.