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Former MP, attorney general laid to rest

Former MP, attorney general laid to rest

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The late Grafton Cephas Isaacs has been described by many as an intellect, trailblazer, no-nonsense, funny and devout Christian man.

At his State funeral on Tuesday at the Kingstown Methodist Church, there was an outpouring of love through tribute and song for the former parliamentarian and Attorney-General.{{more}}

Speaking at the funeral, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves describes Isaacs as a trailblazer in the field of law reform, as he had introduced and recommended a lot of laws in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Those of us who… study the law…would know path breaking legislative work done by Grafton Isaacs, for example, the Status of Children Act…that is the law which placed children born out of wedlock with those born in wedlock on the same footing for the purposes of succession of property.

“Grafton didn’t take that there was any bastard child; they were just children; some were born in wedlock and some were born out of wedlock and no child should be stigmatized at birth by being called a bastard. That’s a very important contribution that he made,” he continued.

Gonsalves explained that Isaacs also introduced protection of employment, which focused on the concept of unfair dismissal.

He also pointed out that apart from being an extra-ordinary law reformer, Isaacs was also an excellent parliamentarian and constituency representative.

“I want to say…that those who have made Grafton Isaacs “political enemies”, who have caricatured him in a manner to suit their own partisan politics, the record would show that Grafton Isaacs was an extraordinary law reformer and an excellent parliamentarian and representative for the constituency of South Windward.”

Isaac’s daughter Joanne Woodley described her father as an honest, caring, and forgiving person.

“A terrific father, free-handed individual, a forgiving person and not forgetting very outspoken, he called a spade a spade. One could not ask for a better dad, even though his bark was worse than his bite.”

“Grafton was a man of indomitable greatness, he would consider a matter very carefully and once he has made up his mind and a course of action, not even hell can move him,” deputy prime minister Sir Louis Straker stated, while delivering his tribute for the man who was his cousin and farming neighbour.

While delivering the eulogy, Olive Isaacs, sister of the late Isaacs, recalled the many adventures she had with her older brother.

“There were fun times like when we rode from Layou to Kingstown on Saturday mornings on his huge triumph motorcycle, with me holding on to him for dear life. Those were memorable moments…he truly was my hero.”

She also spoke highly of Isaacs’ integrity, desire for justice and legal reform.

“Grafton was a man of integrity who exhibited outstanding qualities throughout his life. He was a kind, caring, honest God fearing…philanthropist; he was my mentor, my most honest and valued friend,” she recalled.

“His heightened sense of justice and fair play inspired him to work tirelessly to ensure that women who are mothers can fulfill their dreams of becoming police officers,” Isaacs recalled also.

One of the first female police officers to be enlisted after Isaacs fought for women with children to become police officers expressed her gratitude by a letter and expressed her deepest condolences on the loss of such a great man.

Grafton, according to his sister, organized one of the first teachers’ strike to call for increased wages.

Reverend Adolph Davis, while delivering the sermon, stated that many persons only grieve a worldly grief and it was time for persons to grieve a Godly grief.

“…for Godly grief produces repentance that leads to salvation and brings forth regret, but worldly grief produces death,” Davis stated, quoting scripture from II Corinthians.

Additionally, he stated that he knows the difficulty of losing things, so he can only imagine the difficulty of losing someone.

Other persons paying tributes included his wife’s cousin Beresford Richardson and Lady Linda Straker, wife of Sir Louis.

Prior to the State funeral, Isaacs’ body lay in State at the House of Assembly Chamber in Kingstown from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. During this time, final respects were paid by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, other parliamentarians, High Court Judge Brian Cottle, former Speaker of the house Hendrick Alexander, Commissioner of Police Michael Charles and other dignitaries.

Grafton Isaacs served as Minister of Communication and works, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Labour between 1974 and 1979. He also served as an attorney-general, lawyer, teacher and headmaster.

Isaacs, who died on November 28, is survived by wife Cecily and three children.