David Thompson (Barbadian politician)

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The Honourable
David Thompson
6th Prime Minister of Barbados
In office
16 January 2008 – 23 October 2010
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor-General Clifford Husbands
Preceded by Owen Arthur
Succeeded by Freundel Stuart
Leader of the Opposition
In office
September 1994 – September 2000
Prime Minister Owen Arthur
Preceded by Owen Arthur
Succeeded by Clyde Mascoll
In office
January 2006 – January 2008
Prime Minister Owen Arthur
Preceded by Clyde Mascoll
Succeeded by Mia Mottley
Member of Parliament
for Saint John
In office
16 July 1987 – 23 October 2010
Preceded by Errol Barrow
Succeeded by Mara Thompson
Personal details
Born (1961-12-25)25 December 1961
London, United Kingdom
Died 23 October 2010(2010-10-23) (aged 48)
Mapps, Barbados
Political party Democratic Labour Party
Spouse(s) Mara Thompson
Children Misha
Residence Ilaro Court (2008–2010)
Profession Lawyer

David John Howard Thompson QC (25 December 1961[1] – 23 October 2010[2]) was the Prime Minister of Barbados from 15 January 2008 until his death from pancreatic cancer on 23 October 2010.

Thompson is the third sitting Prime Minister of Barbados to die in office following the deaths of Tom Adams in 1985 and Errol Barrow in 1987.[3] He was also the 7th head of government of a CARICOM country to die in office since CARICOM was founded in 1973.[3][4]

Early life

Thompson was born in London[5] to Charles Thompson, an Afro-Barbadian porter and painter,[6][7] and Margaret Knight,[8][9] a White Barbadian author, secretary and nurse.[7] Both parents remained strong influences in Thompson's life.[10] Thompson was brought up with his three siblings at Fitts Village, Saint James.[7]

Thompson attended primary school at St Gabriel's Junior School and secondary school at Combermere School.[11] He earned a Legal Education Certificate from Hugh Wooding Law School.[11] Thompson graduated with honors from the University of the West Indies law school in 1984.[11] He was admitted to the Barbados bar in 1984 and taught as a part-time tutor in law at the University of the West Indies from 1986 to 1988.[11] His law firm was Thompson & Associates.[12]

Thompson was married to Mara Thompson (née Giraudy),[11] who was born in Saint Lucia.[4] The couple had three daughters - Misha, Oya and Osa-Marie.[11] The family resided in Mapps, St. Philip, though Thompson resided at the official Prime Minister's residence Ilaro Court from 2008 until 2010.[11]


Thompson came to politics in a by-election after the death of the Prime Minister Errol Barrow, gaining his parliamentary seat for Saint John in 1987.[1][5] During Erskine Sandiford's term as Prime Minister, Thompson served as Minister of Community Development and Culture from 1991 to 1993. He was subsequently appointed Minister of Finance from 1993 to 1994. Thompson became leader of the DLP when Sandiford resigned after losing a parliamentary no confidence motion. Thompson unsuccessfully led the Democratic Labour Party in elections in 1994 and 1999. He resigned as party leader in September 2000 following his third electoral defeat as party leader in the St. Thomas by-election. However, when party leader Clyde Mascoll was forced to resign (as party leader) since his popularity had been eroded by internal party skirmishes it cleared the way for Thompson to once again became opposition leader in January 2006. Clyde Mascoll after seemingly being mistreated by the party he was born into and grew up in then decided to switch allegiance to the Barbados Labour Party,[1][5]

The DLP won the general election held on 15 January 2008 with 20 seats against 10 for the Barbados Labour Party, which was led by former Prime Minister Owen Arthur. Thompson was sworn in as Prime Minister on 16 January,[13] becoming Barbados' sixth prime minister and the third to serve under the DLP. Thompson was also re-elected to his own seat from St. John constituency with 84% of the vote.[14] He announced his Cabinet on 19 January, including himself as Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Development, Labour, Civil Service and Energy; it was sworn in on 20 January.

It should be noted that he never resided at the Prime Minister's Official Residence at Ilaro Court, and stated that he never wanted to move there, and so lived at Mapps, Barbados during his tenure as Prime Minister.

The Governor-General scheduled a by-election for 20 January 2011[15] to fill the vacant seat in the House of Assembly formerly held by the Prime Minister. Presently Thompson's wife Mara is the DLP-candidate contesting in the election for her late husband's former seat.[16] She has since won that seat by an overwhelming margin, defeating BLP opponent Hudson Griffith 4 613 votes to 553.

Health issues and death

At a media briefing at his official Ilaro Court residence on 14 May 2010, Thompson, accompanied by his personal physician, Richard Ishmael, said that he had been suffering with stomach pains since early March. He also revealed he had undergone tests in Barbados, which were inconclusive, and had also travelled with Ishmael to New York where additional tests were carried out. The process of testing would be ongoing and, because of this, Attorney General and Deputy Prime Minister Freundel Stuart would assume the Prime Minister's office in Thompson's absence.[17][18]

On 30 August, Thompson re-assumed his post of Prime Minister, having returned to Barbados the day before. On 7 September, he left Barbados for New York on a trip of unknown nature.[19][20] A short time later Thompson's personal physician, Richard Ishmael, informed the general public that the Prime Minister was suffering from pancreatic cancer. However, when the news came of the fact that it was pancreatic cancer, many realised that such a diagnoses would have been known in the very early stages of the tests (even the local ones) and that it was kept secret more so for political reasons than for personal reasons.[21][22]

Thompson died at his home in Mapps, St. Philip, at approximately 2:10 am on 23 October 2010. His mother, wife Mara and daughters Misha, Oya and Osa-Marie were by his side, as well as his sister, Liz.[2]

State funeral and mourning

As news of Thompson's death spread, regional and international dignitaries expressed their condolences.[23][24] to the Thompson family and the nation.[25] Pope Benedict XVI was among those offering condolences for the Prime Minister and stated that he "invokes God's blessings upon the late Prime Minister's family and the people of Barbados."[26] Barbadian pop star Rihanna, who was appointed by Thompson as an 'Honorary Ambassador of Culture' of Barbados, also expressed her sadness at the passing of the Prime Minister.[27] Condolences have also been extended to Barbados by the United Nations General Assembly.[28][29]

Barbados entered an official period of mourning for the former Prime Minister on 23 October. On that date, the government-owned national broadcaster began airing tributes of the Prime Minister. Such tributes included some of Thompson's speeches and debates, as well as some local and international statements of condolence to his family, extended family, and the nation. The mourning period was also stated to be in effect for Barbados until the official state funeral. On Monday 25 October Senator Maxine McClean announced[30] in a televised broadcast the full arrangements for the funeral of PM Thompson;[31][32] Senator McClean stated that on 28 October 2010 (from 9am–11am) Thompson would first have a closed viewing in the east-wing of the Parliament of Barbados. That viewing will be upstairs in the chamber of the House of Assembly and would follow Barbados' Table of Precedence for members of Government from the Governor General down to MPs. On that same date members of the general public could later view Thompson at the House of Assembly from 11am-5pm. On 29 October, from 2pm-5pm a public viewing would take place at Thompson's alma mater, The Combermere School. On 30 October, a viewing for the general public will take place at the George Street Auditorium from 9am-5pm. On Monday, 1 November from 10am-5pm a general public viewing will take place in Thompson's home constituency of Saint John at the Parish Church. On 2 November, Thompson will again have a general public viewing at the House of Assembly from 9am-5pm. The official state funeral for the Prime Minister took place on 3 November at the Kensington Oval stadium and was strictly a ticket only event. Over ten thousand persons, including foreign dignitaries and diplomatic representatives, attended the state funeral. Thousands more lined the streets of Bridgetown that morning to pay their respects as the official funeral procession made its way through the city en route to the Oval. Both the state funeral at the Kensington Oval and the interment at the St. John's Parish Church were broadcast live by CBC TV 8. Mr. Thompson's final resting place is in the church's cemetery and overlooks the east coast of the island.


  1. ^ a b c Rulers
  2. ^ a b Barbados in mourning: PM Thompson is dead
  3. ^ a b Singh, Rickey (24 October 2010). "Barbados PM David Thompson is dead - Freundel Stuart sworn in as new leader". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  4. ^ a b Singh, Rickey (23 October 2010). "Death of third Barbados PM in 25 years". Trinidad Express. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  5. ^ a b c "Thompson: 'much at stake for Barbados'", BBC Caribbean, 16 January 2008.
  6. ^ N.B./B.W. (24 October 2010). "Little brother's death 'tough'". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  7. ^ a b c Site admin (2008). "David John Howard Thompson – A Man Whose Time has Come". DLP. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  8. ^ J. R. T. (18 January 2010). "Seven Barbadians honoured by DLP". Barbados Advocate. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  9. ^ Site admin. "Mum's hope". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  10. ^ G., H. (26 May 2009). "PM David Thompson now Queen's Counsel". Barbados Advocate. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "Bio on late PM David Thompson". The Daily Nation (Barbados). 23 October 2010. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  12. ^ "Mara steps out front". The Daily Nation (Barbados). 7 January 2011. Archived from the original on 19 June 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  13. ^ "Thompson sworn in as Barbados PM", Xinhua, 17 January 2008.
  14. ^ Election result page for St. John in the 2008 election Archived 20 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine..
  15. ^ M., C. (12 November 2010). "By-election on the cards for St John". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 13 November 2010. [dead link]
  16. ^ Gollop, Chris (2 January 2011). "Mara's in". Nation Newspaper. Archived from the original on 6 January 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011. MARA THOMPSON, widow of late Prime Minister David Thompson, has confirmed that she is ready to contest the St John by-election on a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) ticket.
  17. ^ Gibbons, Wade (1 July 2010). "PM on two months' sick leave". Nation Newspaper. Archived from the original on 2 September 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2010. PRIME MINISTER DAVID THOMPSON will be taking two months leave from his national responsibilities and could be heading for major surgery.
    During a national broadcast from Government Headquarters, Thompson said that during the past few weeks he had undergone "observation, tests and medication".
  18. ^ Staff writers (23 October 2010). "Breaking News: Cabinet members to be re-confirmed this afternoon". The Barbados Advocate. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 11:56 a.m. – The newly sworn in Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart, has announced that in accordance with protocol, Cabinet members will be reconfirmed in their positions during a swearing in ceremony this afternoon at 3 p.m.
  19. ^ S., T. (8 September 2010). "PM off to New York". Nation Newspaper. Archived from the original on 6 August 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  20. ^ H., J. (9 September 2010). "'On top of things'". The Barbados Advocate. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2010. PRIME Minister David Thompson has assured the nation yesterday, that during his time away he continues to keep abreast of what is happening in the country.
  21. ^ Ellis, David (16 September 2010). "PM Health update". Voice of Barbados, STARCOM Network News. Archived from the original on 19 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  22. ^ Audio of Dr Ishmael's Statement Archived 23 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ Staff writer (23 October 2010). "UPDATE: CARICOM SG mourns PM's death". The Barbados Advocate. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  24. ^ Ingraham, Hubert (23 October 2010). "Prime Minister Ingraham's Statement on Death of Barbados PM David Thompson". The Bahamas Weekly. Bahamas Information Services. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  25. ^ Staff writer (23 October 2010). "UPDATE: Barbados, region and beyond mourn the passing of Prime Minister David Thompson". The Barbados Advocate. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  26. ^ Staff writer (29 October 2010). "Pope commends late PM's soul to God". The Barbados Advocate. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
  27. ^ "Rihanna sends tribute on PM's passing". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
  28. ^ Nieves, Amanda (29 October 2010). "Late PM remembered at UN General Assembly". The Barbados Advocate. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2010. Joseph Goddard, Barbados' Representative to the United Nations, yesterday responded to the many tributes paid to the Prime Minister at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.
  29. ^ Staff writer (24 October 2010). "UN chief saddened by Barbados PM's death". People's Daily. Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved 13 November 2010. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Saturday extended condolences to the government and people of Barbados over the death of the Caribbean nation's prime minister David Thompson.
  30. ^ Staff writer (26 October 2010). "State funeral on November 3". The Barbados Advocate. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  31. ^ Greene, Peter (26 October 2010). "PM Thompson's Funeral Is November 3". Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS). Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  32. ^ Greene, Peter (26 October 2010). "PM Thompson's Funeral Is November 3" (PDF). Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2010.

External links

  • http://www.nationnews.com/articles/view/Barbados-in-mourning-PM-Thompson-is-dead/
  • https://web.archive.org/web/20100521194900/http://www.nationnews.com/story/PM-NOT-WELL-FRONT-PAGE-LEAD
  • Government profile
  • The Democratic Labour Party
    • Profile of Prime Minister David Thompson
  • Cabinet ready for business
  • Interview with the first lady Mara Thompson at the Wayback Machine (archived 23 January 2008)
  • https://web.archive.org/web/20101027090635/http://www.nationnews.com/index.php/articles/view/pm-thompson-and-wife-and-children
Parliament of Barbados
Preceded by
Errol Barrow
Member of Parliament for Saint John
Succeeded by
Mara Thompson
Political offices
Preceded by
Owen Arthur
Prime Minister of Barbados
Succeeded by
Freundel Stuart
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