Remembering Deborah Backer
Today, still in a state of daze with regard to the passing of a colleague, comrade and I dare say relative, I stand to pay tribute to Debbs, as I familiarly called her.
I pay this tribute on behalf of the Burnham Foundation, an organisation which eulogizes the Founder of the Party of which she became a part and through which she was offered an opportunity to serve her native land. Also, on behalf of Team Alexander of which she was a founder and co-ordinator, not so much of persons, as of ideals and ideas, which brought the team together, and in which she shall undoubtedly live on. Finally, I pay this tribute on behalf of myself and family.
Debbs was a complete person and in her completeness found time for family, community and the nation. She evidently nurtured two worthy natural offspring and scores of societal offspring. The Lions became the medium for her community activism and the party the vehicle for her national outreach, and in all of these spheres her contributions were sincere, impacting and sustained. She committed herself to family, communal and societal upliftment and stayed the course wholeheartedly. Her involvement was such that notwithstanding her 54 plus earth years, she must have exceeded her 70 God-given years by virtue of the magnitude, intensity and density of her contribution. Her involvement was both quantitative and qualitative. In her disposition she was frank, reflective and decisive. The wit to which many refer was but a demonstration of her agile, imaginative, creative and sound intellect. She was a person of action. She exuded confidence while exhibiting humility. She was a fighter and a champion. Most of all she was a God-fearing and people oriented person.
I had the privilege of competing with Debbs. No acrimony resulted. In fact she became my chief sponsor; no wonder her husband still refers to me as the “President in waiting.” I had the honour of working with her and she demanded no less than she gave, but never condemned the limitations of others. And of course there were those fun moments: her wit, her invites to share her flask of tea, bottle of red wine, portion of cook-up or any of the other goodies with which she so often armed herself.
Debbs was a complete person.
Forgive me if I sound pastoral, but as we mourn her passing I enjoin you to celebrate her life and to commit to the preservation and enhancement of her legacy. Let her live on in us by the embrace of what she stood for, the realization of what she strove for and the celebration of those realizations and achievements, while her earthly remains re-enter the chain of finite life and her soul rests in infinite peace.
My condolences on behalf of the Foundation, the Team and my own behalf are extended to family, friends and admirers.