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Giant strides no more

I take a break from writing about our boys, WICB, WIPA and all the negatives taking place presently.

At the tender age of 55, a Nevisian political giant was suddenly taken from us. This has left a void that will never be filled.

The Honourable Malcolm E. Guishard experienced difficulties at Gallows Bay around 6 a.m. on Monday, June 11 while on his routine morning beach activities.  Just a few were present but within a few hours the world became aware of the tremendous loss as the Honourable Minister succumbed.

Affectionately known simply as “Malcolm” or “Guish”, this giant-sized gentleman had a tremendous sense of humour and was always full of smiles, laughter, hugs and kind words of encouragement.

He loved Nevis, he loved nature, he loved good times and he always had a special place in his heart for human beings.

The genuine love and affection he had for his wife, Yvonne, was evident for all to see. Like lovebirds they seemed bound together, almost forever.

May God be with her especially in these awesome moments of grief, suffering and pain. May God also be with his family, friends and the multitude of wellwishers he earned during his short and distinguished lifetime.

Elected in 1992 after defeating former Premier Simeon Daniel at the polls, Malcolm stamped an indelible print in government that touched each and every Nevisian, everyone living here on the island and everyone he knew or with whom he came into contact.

His public life spanned over 14 years with the CCM Government as deputy premier and minister of numerous portfolios. Agriculture, Culture and Information, Communications and Works, Land and Housing, he had them all.

Tourism, during Malcolm’s tenure, was raised to a level that never before was conceived for our beautiful 36 square miles island. The upscale product he embarked on still reaps bountifully and the benefits derived have multiplied beyond earlier imaginations.

The housing program here on the island got a tremendous boost as Malcolm bent over backwards to provide housing ownership opportunities to hundreds of residents who might not have been able to do so under normal circumstances.

His trademark houses stand visibly occupied at Hard Times, Rawlins Pasture, Bath Village, Prospect, Zion, Church Ground, Brown Hill and Butlers, totaling well in excess of 300 families living in their own homes.

The play field at Bath Village is also there as one of Malcolm’s hard fought accomplishments. All the obstacles placed in his way could not deter the true champion.

The Clear Harbor Call Center in Brown Hill is another success story. Well in excess of 50 individuals are presently gainfully employed there.

Albertha Payne Community Centre at Bath Village, the Elizabeth Pemberton Computer Training Centre in Brown Pasture and the Maisie Bartlette Community Centre in Brown Hill are just a few tangible reminders that Malcolm served Nevisians with pride, selflessly and with great dignity.

If the legacy of Malcolm is to be honestly written, history will be etched with golden words of a humble man with a huge and passionate heart, fearless and a determined visionary.

However, Malcolm was vilified by a certain group of individuals here on the island, falsely accused and humiliated. It is difficult to erase the thoughts of that vilification not having a huge part to play in his demise. It had a devastating effect on him and although he never publicly showed it, he was tremendously hurt to the bones.

Those who took to the airwaves, print media, Internet, word of mouth, bill boards and every possible outlet to spread lies about 80 acres of land and other outrageous fabrications about Guish did him grave injustice.

They knew the truth and chose for personal and political greed to proceed with the vendetta that eventually got their party into office. Berated, slandered, dishonoured and literally murdered, yet like a lamb to the slaughter, Malcolm barely opened his mouth.

My last meaningful conversation with Guish was at Pinneys Beach when he assured me that electoral reform was coming and picture ID’s would be a part of the next election. It was a dream he believed would be the ultimate deliverance and the ideal opportunity for his calling it a day in politics.

He is gone now but Nevisians will always remember an eloquent speaker who always had a unique sense of humour. A man amongst men, a true champion, we will all miss him immensely. May his family be greatly blessed and may his soul rest in eternal peace.