Charlestown, Nevis (June 20, 2007)
The body of Federal Parliamentarian and former Deputy Premier of Nevis the late Hon. Malcolm Guishard, was laid to rest at the Bath Cemetery amidst the pomp and ceremony of a State Funeral early afternoon, on Wednesday June 20, 2007 before hundreds of mourners.
The casket, draped in the State flag of St. Kitts and Nevis, was drawn by carriage to its final resting place, accompanied by a contingent from the St. Kitts and Nevis Defense Force, the Defense Force Band, the St. Kitts and Nevis Police Force, family and hundreds of other mourners, as it exited Grove Park at 2pm.
Early morning showers did not deter Nevis and Kittitians who came to say their final good byes to Mr. Guishard. The service was held in Grove Park in brilliant sunshine with a gentle breeze on Wednesday June 20, 2007.
During a number of tributes, Premier of Nevis the Hon. Joseph Parry eulogized Mr. Guishard and referred to him as a “people’s man” who served the people of St. Kitts and Nevis well, until his passing on June 11, 2007, since his election to public office in 1992.
“He was teacher, he was a clerk. He worked with Higgs and Hill who did the first major surfacing of the Island Main Road. He loved people, he engaged in discussions of all kinds with great gusto and if he could not win with facts he used his great voice to overpower his opponents, he made no enemies. He was quick to reach out to friends and opponents alike at the end of an argument. He gave as good as he got, with no hard feelings left behind.
“I can attest to that, many a time sparks flared ferociously high from our exchanges in the House of Assembly but we never parted without a few words of laughter and complete reconciliation,” he said.
Mr. Parry recounted that he had taught Mr. Guishard at school and he was one of the friendliest and most well behaved of his students and that they continued to share a relationship which was later solidified through an incident on a cricket field.
The Premier acknowledged Mr. Guishard’s 14-year tenure as a member of the Nevis Island Assembly, as a minister of government who held several portfolios. He singled out the late Minister’s achievements in Tourism which he contended would have a lasting impact on Nevisians and Nevisian life.
“The concept of the Heritage Village is not only original it encapsulates the history of this island for many generations to come to enjoy and for many visitors also who come to our shores”¦It is for us to build on what Malcolm has left behind for future generations to understand and enjoy.
“He must be applauded for providing 15 acres of land at Pinneys Estate with a 600 [ft.] beachfront for the people of Nevis. It is the only spot on Pinneys Beach that is not in private hands where Nevisians can enjoy themselves unintimidated and undisturbed.
“He established the Nevis Tourism Authority as a separate marketing entity for the Ministry of Tourism. It was a bold and positive move that will continue to support the marketing efforts of the major industry on the island,” he said.
Mr. Parry took the opportunity to urge Nevisians to emulate the manner in which he and the late Mr. Guishard had conducted themselves while serving in Parliament with dignity and good order since it was an important signal for the youth of the nation.
He said the island was a young nation, with a new generation of young persons with great expectations which was the most enlightened in these times. That they watched adults recorded their conduct and learnt by example.
“Let us use this occasion to demonstrate to them, that we can argue and disagree and even agree to disagree but when the opportunity presents itself, that we can conduct ourselves as mature human beings with great dignity.
“If we succeed, we would have done great service to our young people and we would have contributed considerably to the security of the legacy of Malcolm Guishard,” he said and added, “I salute Hon. Malcolm Guishard for his contribution to the life of this nation and to the development of the people of Nevis and Nevis.”
Meantime, Acting Prime Minister in the Federal Government the Hon Sam Condor in his tribute referred to his fellow Parliamentarian as an honourable public servant who balanced compassion with firmness and who’s abilities were grounded in his understanding for human nature; who loved the land of his birth ““ Nevis and had particular concern for the youth.
He said Mr. Guishard was best known by his fellow politicians as a politician who was engaged in the art of government, in the spirit or service and self-giving. “we knew him as one who placed his talent at the disposal of the people and one who served with genuine concern in which ever post was entrusted to him,”
According to Mr. Condor, Mr. Guishard had entered politics at the same time he did in 1989 but it was not until 1993, in the midst of a constutional impasse that he was elected to office and the took a stance for Constitutional Reform rather that a Coalition Government.
“I saw him as a Christian gentleman, loyal to his principals and convictions and courageous in stating them but without rancour towards those who disagreed with him,” he said.
At the time of his passing, Mr. Guishard was the Leader of the Opposition in the Federal Parliament and was a participating member of the Electoral and Constitutional Reform Committee.
Mr. Condor noted, that when ever Electoral or Constitutional Reform evolved, Mr. Guishard would be remembered as having played an integral role in the process.
He referred to his colleagues’ whole hearted involvement in Parliamentary business, which he described as being a ready recognition by Mr. Guishard of the paramount importance of parliamentary democracy.
The Deputy Prime Minister said in Mr. Guishard’s capacity as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee he was thorough in his approach to the scrutiny of documents and ensured that public finances were disbursed for the purpose stated.
He called his late colleague, an uncommon man for the common man with a big heart.
“Malcolm Guishard was a giant of a man in stature and in heart, whose legacy cannot simply be recounted by reciting the positions he held in public life or the areas of responsibility he held as a Minister of Government.
“He was genuinely God fearing, light-hearted and friendly. To his people he was a compassionate and effective leader,” he said, “Who loved his family.”
Mr. Claude Guishard, father of the late Guishard, in his tribute called his son an eternal optimist, who took pride of his accomplishments in politics and who left an indelible mark in Nevis. One who lived a life open and useful, particularly for his children, who he prepared as best as he could for life and living and a man who loved his wife.
Other tributes came from a number of persons including his adopted brother the Hon Dwyer Astaphan, the Hon. Vance Amory, the Hon Mark Brantley, Ms. Helen Kidd, and Dr. Henry Browne while the eulogy was delivered by a visibly emotional Mr. Colin Tyrell.
The service was conducted by the Seventh Day Adventist Church of which the late Mr. Guishard was a member.
Also present were the Governor Genera; His Excellency Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, Deputy Governor General His Honour Mr. Eustace John and his wife, Members of the Nevis Island Government, members of the federal Government and top civil servants.