At the Cabinet Press Briefing yesterday, Minister of Information Melford Nicholas said “The poise of the government is to deal with these things from a principled position.” He rejected any concerns of political controversy or general contention.
In making reference to the official funeral that was offered to the family of the late Vincent “Tubby” Derrick, he explained that protocols afford the offering of such honors.
Nicholas continued by saying, “I am aware of his protestations with respect to the naming of that facility in his honor. It is a matter that I think is still going to be left to ultimate judgment, but I think there is an old adage, ‘you never look a gift horse in the eye’. I think the government of today is not mean-spirited in respect of recognizing the contribution that any person would have made; and certainly Mr. Spencer, notwithstanding our own critique of his stewardship, would have made contributions to his community and that is the position and the poise of the government.”
On Tuesday, Minister of Works Lennox Weston said the government had already decided to name the newly-erected community center, known as Knuckle Block, after former Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer despite his objections.
Nicholas said this idea comes in light of recognizing the service of the former Prime Minister, but is “going to be left up to the judgement of all concerned.”
Weston also implied that Baldwin Spencer should be knighted. However, Nicholas said that there have been no conversations in Cabinet about knighting the former United Progressive Party leader.
He however noted that the possibility is not farfetched given that the independence celebrations where such awards are made have not yet passed.
The Knuckle Block facility is situated in the Grays Green community which falls within the St. John’s Rural West Constituency that Baldwin Spencer represented as an elected Member of Parliament for almost 30 years.