By Makeida Antonio
The Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission (ABRSC) will discuss the most suitable method of recognising the life and times of noted Rastafarian leader, Ambassador Lennox ‘King Frank-I’ Francis this week.
Head of the ABRSC, Dorbrene O’Marde revealed that plans have been made to finalise ideas to put forward to other members of the organisation in order to come to some agreement as to how King Frank-I’s legacy can live on in Antigua and Barbuda.
“I’ve discussed with one or two members in the Reparations Commission already, but ideas are not yet fully formed. I want to sense some sort of memorial, some monument, some award, something that identifies those who have contributed to this country in the sense of public education, on its history and certainly participation and demonstration in its culture. A history/culture award; it is an idea that I would like to put forward to the Reparations Commission during our meeting next week,” O’Marde told Observer on Saturday.
This development follows Francis’ official funeral which was held at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Friday. Government officials and dignitaries were in attendance, to include Governor General Sir Rodney Williams, Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Minister of Education and Sports Daryll Matthew, National Hero and cricket legend Sir Vivian Richards, members of the Rastafarian community, as well as ABRSC members.
O’Marde, who shared a close friendship with Francis, said he was delighted viewing the tributes and presentations given at the funeral and commended the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for putting together the ceremony.
“I was quite impressed with the farewell; I thought it was very well organised. I thought the content was quite fitting, I thought the tributes were all excellent and the scene was quite well set by the Rastafari gathering, Nyabinghi Theocracy, etc,” he remarked.
The ABRSC Head also called the service a celebration of life as he was concerned that the grief felt by Francis’ loved ones may have been overwhelming due to the important role the Rastafari leader played in their lives.
“I was a bit worried when I saw the programme that it would have been a long and perhaps sad farewell but it certainly wasn’t. It was well presented and not sad in that sense. It was joy in it and celebration in it, there was memory in it and I thought that was quite good,” O’Marde said.
While delivering Kin Frank-I’s eulogy at the funeral last Friday, O’Marde described the more than half of a century friendship he had with King Frank-I, highlighting that reading books, enjoying music and revolutionary work in Pan-Africanism were activities they participated in together.
“This nation has lost an important chunk of its intellectual capital – a bi-lingual thinker, a lover of music and books, an avid reader – a voice of reason on the national media, a leader, an influencer, a regional icon.
“We have lost an example of steadfast commitment to a cause…we have lost a proud proclaimer of the fact that although he was not born in Africa, Africa was born in him – to paraphrase the great Kwame Nkrumah. I have lost a friend of 60 years. I mourn now, but know that soon I will rejoice for having shared so much of my journey with him,” O’Marde shared during the ceremony.