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A remarkable brother, a big loss

A remarkable brother, a big loss
Donnie De Freitas

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by Renwick Rose

It was a profound shock to me when last week I received a call informing me of the death of a dear brother and comrade, Donnie De Freitas far away in the Pacific island of Fiji. It was small comfort that my feeling of sadness would be shared by so many others here and abroad for he had touched the lives of so many, Vincentians and non-Vincentians alike.

Over the more than four decades since I came to know him and interact with him, among his many attributes were his absolute commitment to his beliefs, his forthrightness and honesty, his deep humility and unbridled sense of humour.

Donnie was among the second group of Vincentian students to be awarded university scholarships to study in Cuba through the initiative of the United Peoples Movement (UPM), having left here in 1981. Whilst there, he quickly displayed his exceptional leadership skills and right up to his graduation, he was a central plank in keeping the Vincentian contingent in Cuba together.

He was also an outstanding student, and was to use the knowledge gained in furthering the best interests of St.Vincent and the Grenadines and the OECS in their titanic battles with the telecom giants which had long ridden roughshod over our peoples. His was a lasting contribution towards obtaining greater access and affordability to all the people of the OECS.

He was also a committed internationalist and never wavered from his solidarity with the Cuban people. His membership of the UPM also allowed him to engage in political activism and to demonstrate both his patriotism as well as his determination to oppose foreign domination and to work assiduously to eradicate injustice and poverty.

Donnie made his mark in the sporting field as well, being a bedrock of both the local table Tennis Association and the National Olympic Committee, making invaluable and exemplary contributions to the development of sport in our country. He will be sorely missed and our country will be much the worse for his absence but enriched by his contribution.

MUCH RESPECT! Comrade. My sincerest condolences to the bereaved family.

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