Nelson Mandela - Caribbean joins world tributes

Nelson Mandela Facebook page
Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro, Trinidad's Kamla Persad-Bissessar shares a plane with the country's opposition leader along with other Caribbean leaders.
Beyond the statements and tributes, the pictures summed up the healing effect of South African President Nelson Mandela, even in death.
Caribbean politicians and statesmen joined their world colleagues in stating their appreciation for the man Barack Obama called the last great liberator of the 20th century.
During the week of commemorations for late South African President Nelson Mandela,Caribbean newspapers and people also penned editorials and tributes.
Below, we let the excerpts from the tributes of Caribbean statesmen speak for themselves.
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Sir Shridath Ramphal - Commonwealth Secretry-General when Mandela was released and the Commonwealth debated the future of apartheid.
"Tomorrow’s children will not be able to say, as we can with pride and a deep sense of privilege, that we lived in the time of Nelson Mandela, a unique and memorable human being. ‘Madiba’ has gone from us; but he is part of eternity and will always belong to the entire world. His indomitable spirit will forever inspire people in pursuit of freedom and justice; his humanity will be a beacon for all who are wronged. He made our troubled age less shameful by his own nobility. He enriched my own life by the small part I played, as Commonwealth Secretary-General, in restoring him to freedom - even though he showed that truly “Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage”. That my official Commonwealth residence was the one he came to when first he came to London, after his release from prison, to meet those who fought with him against apartheid and the injustices of the apartheid regime, will forever be a badge of honour for the Commonwealth."
Cuban President Raul Castro, speaking at the 10 December memorial service
"The children of Cuba have African blood in their veins.....Mandela has set an insurmountable example to Latin America and the Caribbean regarding racial and ethnic equality.
Chair of Caricom, Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
"It has been said that “one act does not define a leader.  It is their lasting legacy they leave behind.” Indeed, this great human being did just that by the way he lived and by the things he taught us through his struggles, sacrifices, and words of courage and wisdom. We were blessed as a nation to have had him as our guest in 2004 – a living saint in our presence.  It is something that we will never forget and for which we will always be grateful. Respected and revered all over the world, Nelson Mandela has brought out the best in us and indeed in the entire civilized world.  This is a mark of a true leader who brought about meaningful and lasting change through non-violence in his struggles for human rights and freedom for his people.  He is respectfully remembered as a symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation in troubled times. Even after leaving office as president and eventual retirement from public life he continued to influence leaders and people in a way no other person has done.  This true father of South Africa will forever be remembered as one of the greatest persons of our time and his lasting legacy will continue to inspire and motivate all of humanity to work for a better tomorrow where human rights are upheld and defended; where there is justice, equity, peace, and freedom for all. His life contribution to us has made our world a better place in which to live.  We can honour his immeasurable contribution to world peace by living his legacy, by promoting national unity, mutual respect and sustainable development through the eradication of racialism, prejudice, and violence in our beleaguered world.  His sterling example will forever remain in our hearts and minds. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all of South Africa at this time as we mourn his passing.  May he now reap his eternal rewards for the great work he has done for humanity."
Portia-Simpson-Miller, Jamaican Prime Minister
"It is with tremendous and utter sadness that I convey the heartfelt sympathy of the Government and people of Jamaica on the loss of the Father of the South African Nation, Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela.The world has lost a courageous fighter, an enlightened leader, and a quintessential statesman.  His life will inspire countless generations and his illustrious legacy will endure. He was without a doubt one of the greatest human beings in the history of humanity. Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the ideal that the dignity of the human person was a God-given right that should never be denied or downtrodden. He led and inspired his country’s epic struggle for freedom and democracy and will be remembered with special pride as the first President of democratic South Africa.This achievement alone, would have ensured his greatness, but this man of virtue and majesty will be remembered for much more. He would transcend politics and society to represent the noblest qualities of love and mercy, wisdom and understanding. Despite enduring the horrors of the apartheid regime and serving 27 years of a dehumanizing and unjust prison sentence, he emerged without a visible trace of rancour or hatred to embody forgiveness and reconciliation. His choice to denounce bitterness and hatred and to focus on truth and compassion must be remembered and emulated by peoples everywhere. He was a giant of a man, an icon and an example to us all on what a leader should be, humble and gentle but with an indomitable spirit. He was a most deserving recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He was a friend of the Jamaican people and he valued our historic solidarity with the South African  people. The people of Jamaica consider Nelson Mandela to be an honorary citizen of Jamaica. We are grateful that he chose to visit our Island in July 1994.  The love and respect of the people of Jamaica for his lifelong struggle for freedom, dignity and justice are as strong now as they were on that historic visit to our shores. We grieve together with the people of South Africa and the family of the late President the loss of this giant of our times and this man for all times".
Guyana's President Donald Ramoutar

"On behalf of the government and people of the Republic of Guyana and on my own behalf, I express sincere condolences on the passing of former President Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela was a giant in defence of human rights and for a free and just society, not only for his beloved South Africans, but for the oppressed the world over. The world is much poorer after his passing for he was one of the most outstanding statesmen of all time."


Haitian President Michel Martelly

"Mandela is not only the Father of Democracy in South Africa, it is the symbol of democracy and like any symbol, it is not dead. It is present in all of us and guide us by his lifestyle, his courage and faith in the true struggle for equality between men, races and Nations,"


Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines

"Nelson Mandela is dead at 95 years of age. He was an African Revolutionary; an Iconic Global Fighter for Equality, Justice, Peace, and Democracy; a World Statesman of the highest quality; former President of South Africa and Founding Father of his Nation; an Exemplary Family Man; a Most Extraordinary Human Being and Humanist; and a Man after God’s Own Heart. He remains an example to emulate, a continuing inspiration for service to humanity, and a leader to follow.

There are some forces internationally which seek, selectively, to rewrite Mandela’s life story in their own image and interest. Those, for example, who labelled Mandela and the ANC as terrorists during the epic years of anti-apartheid struggle now want to make it appear that it was the goodly work of a few former apartheid apostles who experienced a Damascus conversion and the “constructive engagement” of the governments of the USA and some European countries, were principally responsible for apartheid’s demise. Such persons attempt to write out of the real story the outstanding solidarity contributions to the liberation struggle and the ANC from, for example, ordinary people of all walks of life internationally, the Soviet Union, Gadhafi’s Libya, and the defeat of the racist South African army at the epic battle of Cuito Cuanavale at the hands of the Cuban fighters, the Angolans, and ANC patriots. These very selective historians down-play the militancy of the revolutionaries in South Africa, including those in the joint endeavours of the ANC and the South African Communist Party. We must be aware of these revisionist, self-serving history-tellers, particularly in sections of the established western media.

Many of my generation were particularly moved by Mandela’s fortitude, humility, and high principle, to offer support for majority-rule in South Africa and for his release from jail. We formed African Liberation Committees and participated accordingly in political activities with these objectives in mind. At Mandela’s death we remember the contributions of all these persons. Especially, too, we remember and celebrate the huge sacrifices of Mandela’s comrades-in-arms such as Oliver Tambo, Giovanni Mbeki, and Walter Sisulu, as well as younger warriors of blessed memory such as Steve Biko. We remember Joe Slovo and his wife Ruth First and other committed compatriots, who were not Black African, for their immense sacrifices and love of freedom.

We are fortunate to have lived during the lifetime of a colossus, Nelson Mandela, our extraordinary Madiba.

Mandela’s global stature was reflected, in part, by the esteemed accolades he received world-wide, among them being: the Nobel Peace Prize, the Soviet Order of Lenin, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Bharat Ratna.

On behalf of the government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, I express profound condolences to the government and people of South Africa, to Madiba’s widow, Graça, to his former wife, Winnie, to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and to his entire family and close friends. At this moment of profound sadness, we are at one with the world in celebrating Madiba’s extraordinary life. The entire world, including his former foes, rightly claim him as their own.

May Madiba’s soul rest in peace, and may light perpetual shine upon him."
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