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Ode to Winston Springer Sr | Winston’s Last Post!

Winston Springer Sr
Winston Springer Sr
Earl Bousquet
Chronicles Of A Chronic Caribbean Chronicler By Earl Bousquet

As per increasingly regretful yet inescapable norm, I heard on Tuesday several regretful announcements of the end of life for another lifelong colleague.

Winston Springer spent a lifetime in Humanity’s transit lounge before being handed his boarding pass, from on high, for his last flight to the final destination none has ever returned from, that Ultimate Trip to the Great Beyond along the never-ending River of No Return.

Unlike those who earlier boarded the slow sailboat to the other world, Winston wasn’t known to have exuded anything suggesting excruciatingly-painful illness, or battling this-and-that health challenge with what-have-you.

His vital signs might have diminished in some functional human departments, but never did his wit and will shorten, or his determination to always get his message across.

On-air on Radio St. Lucia (RSL) or spinning the Caribbean Heat on Radio Antilles in the 70s and 80s, Winston had his distinctive delivery style that put him alongside the likes of earlier stalwarts Margaret Roberts-Steele, Winston Hinkson and ‘Jeff’ Fedee, et al.

But his unique voice delivered words and messages his way – much alike his love for Frank Sinatra’s ‘I did My Way’.

Always the man of the social party, Winston naturally became the ultimate party-man in all its applicable senses.

Growing-up in Central Castries with two parents as distant and apart in character as between loud and quiet and who supported different political parties, Winston, Cletus and Denys also grew-up dutifully applying their parents’ respectful formula of peaceful political coexistence.

Winston aged gracefully with time, only getting better like wine in his old cask, seen and heard in his monthly presentations on GIS and NTN explaining the business on the Order Paper at House of Assembly sittings, his vast accumulated experience allowing him to present researched facts and figures about the historicity of the day’s legislative presentations and interventions.

Naturally, the consummate professional in him allowed Winston to say-his-say and have-his-way in ways and with words he wished and so chose, which listeners and viewers would relate to differently; and – to the chagrin of his detractors — he’d religiously identify every election campaign promise delivered by the ruling Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) at every House sitting since July 2021.

But the Bottom Line is: he’d never been accused of lying.

Each time I watched Winston take his crease on air in this era, I also saw how some of my generational 20th Century colleagues have made the transition from Medium Wave (MW) and Short Wave (FM) bands in the age of undersea cable and wireless, to the age of Bandwidth and The Internet of Things.

Where once we were only heard, we’re now also seen; where once we read letters mailed through and delivered by the General Post Office (GPO), today we mail by Gmail.

But while I simply shun those online platforms that will deepen my unavoidable overdependence on IT, Winston was one of my older colleagues who just wouldn’t allow himself to have been ‘left-behind’ by the tech of the times.

His daily WhatsApp postings were widely varied, from quoting global political thinkers to sharing inspiring poems by illustrious bards, from nostalgic calypsos from the likes of Lord Nelson to daily prayers of faith – and always those daily blessings and greetings…

Winston’s Last Posts were quite telling, his last week of mailings including a saucy ex-tempo coronation-related calypso by Tobago Crusoe, a clip from the Trinidad & Tobago parliament on how the Speaker there handled a recent matter of distinguishing between ‘lies’ and ‘untruths’, a video on ‘The first artificial woman made by China’, a shared definition of ‘A Narcissistic Sociopath’ – and a brief music video of a gem of a joint performance by Harry Belafonte and Nat King Cole singing ‘Mama Look a Boo-Boo Dey’.

But Winston’s Very-Last-Post was that which touched me most — an image of ‘The Royal Gaol in Castries’ with a caption noting it was built in 1827 and ‘Demolished on May 23, 2020’.

As his and our fate would have it, Winston’s Last Post bugled a call that highlighted personal and historical events on May 23, 2020.

That Sunday, I’d just hosted my weekly ‘Earl@Large’ TV on DBS and was hit by a speeding vehicle while crossing the road along the Castries Waterfront just after 5pm, leaving me a left leg broken in several parts — and bequeathing me a three-year survival and rehabilitation phase that’s still ongoing.

That was also the same day George Floyd was killed by bad cops in the USA, leading to the mass protests across America and the globalization of the Black Lives Matter movement.

George and I lay on our respective sidewalks on the same day, both awaiting emergency transfer to the nearest medical facility, but while I got to OKEU Hospital in quick-enough time, George never left…

Three years later, thanks to Winston’s Last Post, I now also know that on that fateful Sunday too, the 196-year-old colonial prison — perhaps the oldest building in Castries — was demolished, never mind the legal protestations of the Saint Lucia National Trust, in whose trust such buildings are placed, by law.

Regretfully, three years after his death shook the world, I saw no mention of George Floyd’s anniversary in the international news this past Tuesday, but the worst news I got that day was that Winston had indeed sounded his Last Post.

Then came the news that the iconic Tina Turner, ‘Simply the Best’ of her generation, had died at 83 — which, in some strange way, coming so soon after Harry Belafonte, didn’t hit me as hard as the sound of Winston’s last post.

But (to me), Winston going with Tina to meet Harry was definitely no boo-boo, leaving me to actually say (to myself): ‘Winston has good company!’

In which case, I also daresay, my good old friend just won’t suffer gladly by even trying to Rest in Peace!