A Grenadian Star in the Firmament - Leslie Pierre

19th November 1928 - 21st December 2014
I hoped I would never have say goodbye to Leslie Pierre.  Leslie was "mon frère d’armes" - a warrior who cherished freedom of speech and that of the press,  embracing a diversity of issues affecting his homeland and the world at large.
The Grenada Revolution and the advent of the Marxist regime in March 1979  would deprive Leslie, a journalist, of that liberty when he was unjustly arrested and imprisoned  at Richmond Hill Prison on the 11th July,1981. He was listed as prisoner N° 119  « a person considered dangerous and a threat to national security engaged in activities of a subversive and counter-revolutionary nature » [1].   On the 27th October 1983, the second day of the American Invasion of Grenada, Leslie would be released  from Richmond Hill Prison and the US forces went on to oust the Coard/Austin Hudson faction responsible for the  oppression and murder of  Grenadians and in particular that of Maurice Bishop and members of his government.
If I had lived through these events too, it was only 10 years later and early one morning in April 1992, that I would meet Leslie.  He was sitting behind a mountain of documents and a  large Macintosh computer at the top of a flight of stairs in the office of « The Grenadian Voice ». The office was in a pretty red brick Georgian building looking out over the busy waterfront of Melville Street in Grenada’s capital, St Georges; the room was lined with piles of newspapers and Grenadian history. I had never seen eyes that twinkled as his did, they shone with merriment, inquisitiveness and intelligence.  By coincidence we were both dressed  in navy trousers and shirts, we had the same name ; but he sported short  silvery hair and I had a long black plait.  From that instant we were to be « comrades in arms» travelling a common, often dangerous, path - different to that Leslie was known so well for - in defense of a beautiful and diverse natural world, that of the ocean and its great whales,  the creation of a marine mammal Sanctuary in the Southern Ocean – Antarctica and a haven for cetaceans in the Caribbean Sea [2].
In 1996 with Leslie and other leading Caribbean citizens we co-founded  the East Caribbean Coalition for Environmental Awareness (ECCEA),  an International  Coalition of  Non Governmental Organisation serving the environment and linking  the French and English speaking Islands of the region, working at different levels with governments, UNEP and the EU.  He would serve as ECCEA’s President  and become a vital member of  ECCEA delegation's  representing the Caribbean at the International Whaling Commission (IWC). His many editorials,  articles and humorous criticism of local pro whaling factions, the Japanese influence  on Caribbean environmental policies, were legendary but not without consequences ; they were though key to the conservation of nature and culture, the creation of protected areas and an ongoing moratorium for the preservation of the great whales.
Figure 1 Leslie Pierre and Lesley Sutty at the 47th IWC in Aberdeen , Scotland in 1996
If Leslie is now a shining light in the firmament, he will be watching over his lifetime companion Clytie, their children, Grenada and naturally the great whales, whose preservation he contributed so much to; and perhaps when he has time,  a myriad of multicoloured human beings who admired and loved him.