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MPs unite to praise former colleague John Barritt

Parliamentarians were united in their praise for former colleague John Barritt.

Mr Barritt, now retired, was described as a political mentor by several MPs.

“I don’t think his like will soon be seen again in this place,” said OBA MP Trevor Moniz who started off the praise fest. “We hope his service will continue. I know his dedication to Bermuda still burns very strong in him and we just want him to know he is appreciated.”

Mr Moniz described Mr Barritt as a “diligent” and “thoughtful” individual. “Most recently he did a vast amount of work on reconfiguring the rules of this House.” And Mr Moniz noted that the Barritt family had a tradition of public service.

His colleague, Louise Jackson said that Mr Barritt taught her everything she knows about parliamentary procedures, speech making and “just how to be a good politician”.

“This man had such a great knowledge of good governance, and how to be a politician of good repute,” she said.

Ruling party backbencher Randy Horton spoke of the great respect he had for Mr Barritt and thanked him for his work on parliamentary select committee. He recalled meeting Mr Barritt in the early 1970s when he had written an article on “How the West was Won”. “That’s when I knew that John Barritt had great insight into politics.”

Mr Horton said: “We miss him here because he was a sound voice, a measured voice in this House.”

OBA MP described him as a “task master but an MP who stood for excellence”, while his colleague Shawn Crockwell said Mr Barritt had been his “political mentor” and one of the “more dynamic speakers of the House” who remained his legal mentor.

Grant Gibbons praised Mr Barritt as a “parliamentarian’s parliamentarian”.

“He was one of the best debaters the House has seen in a while. And I think he understood that there is both substance and theatre in the House and used both of them to great effect,” said Dr Gibbons. “He was a crusader for good governance and I think he deserved some of the credit for opening up the House to the media and the public.

“He had certainly a political conscience which may be an oxymoron but I think he certainly worked very hard to make Bermuda a better place.”

Patricia Gordon Pamplin said that Mr Barritt had demonstrated selflessness when he retired to make way for Craig Cannonier to run for elective office.

Ruling party backbencher Darius Tucker said that Mr Barritt had helped him find his feet as an MP. “I can truly say that Mr Barritt was an asset to the country at large.”

House Speaker Stanley Lowe said of Mr Barritt: “I’ve never seen such a keen politician, one who spent so much time trying to get all the rules of the House changed so that they were more modern and I am sure he is going to have a very happy retirement.”

Parliamentarians also paid tribute to the late Walter Brangman who died at 81 during the summer recess. Mr Brangman was a pioneering architect and an early Progressive Labour Party MP who went on to co-found the National Liberal Party. Mr Lowe described Mr Brangman as a “very principled person”.

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Published November 28, 2011 at 9:03 am (Updated November 28, 2011 at 9:03 am)

MPs unite to praise former colleague John Barritt

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