Ode to our dearest Cynthia Boones-Thibou

“Mrs. Cynthia Boones-Thibou, 1924 -2020 (Requiescat In Pace)”
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A blessed soul has taken flight, soaring to the Great Beyond and her eternal reward. We’re talking about Mrs. Cynthia Boones-Thibou nee Brown, affectionately known as ‘Dotsie,’ last of Crosbies, an outstanding Antiguan who dedicated her life to the betterment of this country. From her early involvement in a newspaper (later as a contributor to a magazine championing the cause of senior citizenhood), to her strident calls for us to stand up for that in which we believe, it can truly be said that she fought to her last breath and “died with her boots on.”

Mrs. Boones-Thibou was all of 96 years, (would have turned 97 in December), and yet she listened to OBSERVER Radio from dawn until dusk. Always. We can never forget the day when she called a VOICE OF THE PEOPLE broadcast in support of free and independent media to pledge a donation to NEWSCO, and to declare, her voice quivering with emotion, “I don’t know what my life would be like without Observer.” We were touched by her generosity and kind compliment. Yes, she often said, “God bless Observer!”

Then there was the time, during the national outrage over the Global Ports Holding giveaway, that she called in to express her disgust with the deal, and to urge Antiguans and Barbudans to picket and stand firm against this pernicious ceding of our sovereignty and patrimony, for thirty years for, well . . . ‘thirty pieces of silver.’ She organised a petition-signing protest and hosted discussions on ways in which we could resist, not only that sell-out, but other vexing cases of malfeasance in high places.  

She was conversant with all the daily occurrences here and abroad, and had strong views on the way things ought to be. And she was never bashful to call it as she saw it. Indeed, her three children (a son and two daughters), would often say with pride, “Mommy was on the radio today, giving them a piece of her mind.” For example, even before this YIDA travesty, Mrs. Boones-Thibou was sounding the alarm by saying, “The Chinese are going to colonise us!” Hmmm!

Not surprisingly, Mrs. Boones-Thibou was a tireless advocate for the rights of women, persons in need, and the disabled, and she spearheaded the setting up of a home for the elderly on Fort Road. She was quite nimble with her hands and engaged in knitting and other handicraft. Visits to cruise ships, lunch outings, a vibrant women’s ministry and gardening were also an important part of her life.  Ah, yes. Gardening. Mrs. Boones-Thibou had a green thumb, and her idyllic garden gave life to that lovely saying, “One is closest to God in a garden than any place else on earth!” Ah, the kiss of the sun! And the idyllic tea parties! Mrs. Boones-Thibou was famous for those; she was a most gracious lady.

In a conversation yesterday with Mrs. Gladys Potter, a longtime friend of Mrs. Boones-Thibou’s, our dear lady’s sweetness of spirit again shone bright. Said Gladys, “She [Boones-Thibou] was my dear friend, a sweetheart; and I feel so honoured and privileged to have sat at her feet. She was so full of wit and wisdom, and I am a better person because of her. She always had an encouraging word, and always told me that she was praying for me. May God rest her.”   

Interestingly, Mrs. Cynthia Boones-Thibou nee Brown (she was married twice, first to a Moravian pastor, with whom she laboured in the United States for many years, and then to Mr. Thibou) grew up on Popeshead Street in a house that is still standing there. We found it rather intriguing that she was born there a mere six years after the famous 1918 riots that began on St. John’s and Popeshead Streets and spread to Newgate Street. If you recall, that riot was for better wages and working conditions for sugar workers, and it was led by the Reverend George Weston and other activists from the Point. The irate workers threw stones at the police who retreated to police headquarters and returned with reinforcements and guns to disperse them. They refused to be cowed, and a stand-off ensued. Eventually, the police charged the crowd and shot 15 protesters. Two died. Reverend Weston and a number of others were arrested. Needless to say, it was a great day of resistance to the power structure here in Antigua and Barbuda, and the huge stone on the corner of Newgate and Popeshead Street (near the old John Moore store) marks the spot. As you can imagine, a young Cynthia must have been intrigued by tales of the activism and rebellion on the street where she grew up. She was a natural activist prodigy.

Mrs. Cynthia Boones-Thibou “fought the fight, kept the faith and finished her course.” She can now enter into the joy of her Lord. Of course, her inspiring life and legacy will live on. Her dream and vision for a fairer and better Antigua will not be interred with her bones. Nay, the struggle continues! Sleep in power, dear lady, patriot and friend!

We here at NEWSCO offer our heartfelt condolences to her two caregivers who loved her tenderly, and the rest of her family. We share your grief, and certainly trust that the good Lord will provide some measure of comfort in our hour of bereavement.        We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.

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