The island has lost a true champion of the people

I MET Barry Paint in 2012 when I was first elected. Seeing as we were both ‘on the same page’, we hit it off right away and became the best of friends.

In eight years, over two terms, we served together on the Scrutiny Committee, the DPA and Deputy Le Tocq’s Seafront Working Party, when we were looking into what we could do in response to the Quay being turned from two lanes of traffic southbound into one lane. What a saga that was.

One of the many things I admired about him was that he was never afraid to challenge anybody, be they a colleague, a committee, a douzenier, a parish constable, a member of the public, or a civil servant, if he felt their view needed to be challenged (I was present when he challenged all of those over the years and I learnt a lot from him). He was incredibly persistent and determined, but he always did it in a respectful and civilised manner.

Seeing as we had the same approach to politics (we both considered ourselves to be ‘grassroots’ politicians and optimistic realists), we worked together on several different issues and one-to-one cases over the years, and I always admired the way in which he worked. Often ridiculed, both in the chamber and also by some members of our community, it was ‘water off a duck’s back’ for an experienced politician and ancient mariner like Baz (pardon the pun). He was a man of the utmost integrity and he rose above all of that and simply did what he always felt was right for our community.

Over the years, we’d often lunch together and go out for coffee, usually at Vistas, where sometimes we’d meet up with Neil [Inder].

I picked Baz up for coffee three times in recent weeks (he wasn’t allowed to drive due to his having a stroke). The last time – two weeks ago – he was in really good form. He’d lost three and a half stone and was looking really healthy. We drove along the west coast to the Pearl for coffee and cake and all the time he was pointing out rocks and telling me their names, at the same time as telling me stories of his times at sea I’d never heard before. We laughed a lot that day. That’s how I’ll always remember him. I can hear his laughter now.

Always battling against injustice and fighting on behalf of the underdog, the island has lost a true champion of the people. I consider it to be one of life’s rare privileges to have been included in Barry’s circle of friends.

Stay safe all.


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