Prime Minister Rt.Hon. Keith Mitchell Remarks at Mr.Lesile Pierre's Funeral

Tuesday, January 6, 2015 3:26 PM - George's, Grenada
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We are here today, not to say farewell to a friend, but to ensure that his legacy lives.
For a man’s principles and ideals are not dimmed by his physical passing, but illuminated to stand as a beacon in time.
The footprints Leslie Pierre has left in his 86 glorious and active years with us, give us reason to celebrate, even while our fragile hearts mourn.
He was a social and political activist; a businessman, and then for what perhaps he became best known – a journalist; newspaper man and editor.

And through that career, he has drawn, for all of us to follow, a road map for fairness, fearlessness and forgiveness.

A man of strong convictions and ideas; he also defended everyone else’s right to have one – even when contrary to his own.

Leslie Pierre had a fierce sense of a  cost-it-what-it-will independence – something that received our admiration, even when we did not necessarily agree with some of his positions.

Someone called him tough but fair. And that is right.

He had strong views – sometimes even extreme views; but he was never nasty. He was harshly critical at times of all of us in public life; but still always respectful.

His mind was even periodically mischievous; but his heart was forgiving.

It was easy for a man who was imprisoned during the revolution to forever hate all of its architects.

But in one of his best chapters in his life, he freed himself from the baggage of the past by being the lead champion against the planned executions of the so called Grenada 17.

His views at the time were not universally popular, but he even championed for their release; openly questioning the trial that convicted them.

Mr Pierre was not afraid either to confront his own reservations.

That was even more apparent when we invited him to go to Cuba in (year), when I made the first official visit there.

He initially balked at the idea; but then gave in – under one condition – that he was free to go about his business in Havana without having to be followed by the police.

On arrival there, he was afforded his own car and allowed to go on his merry way, unhindered.

Following his own Cuban experience; he said to me: Fidel is not too bad after all; you should invite him to Grenada.

And we did; and Fidel eventually came.

This is the type of open-minded individual Leslie was: Opinionated, but willing to give everyone a chance.

The media fraternity and indeed the wider Grenadian community join with his family in mourning his passing

All of us -- in our varying ways -- are richer for having known him. And I have been honored to have called him friend.

He has impacted so many facets of Grenadian life, including his role with the Boy Scouts and the Willie Redhead Foundation which so robustly seek to protect the architectural integrity of our capital city.

And has been said repeatedly, we cannot cease to be amazed by his journalistic integrity.

He has impacted a whole generation of Grenadian media practitioners who can now best honor his legacy by recommitting themselves to fairness and balance in their daily work.

Mr Pierre’s strength was his determination to have every report checked and verified; allowing for all angles of the story to be reported. He never went on hearsay; and he always checked with all the players involved.

Though he never formally went to journalism school; Mr Pierre sure learnt well – and taught us all well too.

His work and his example will always be with us.

Go well friend; for your work is done – in fact - well done. Let the angels take you to Abraham’s bosom.






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