In the heat of the election battle, Grenadians have lost one of their long-standing political figures.
Minister of Agriculture and former two-time Member of Parliament for the St. David Constituency, Michael Denis Lett passed away on Monday at his home after a prolonged illness.
A Licensed Land Surveyor by profession, the 74-year old Lett has been forced to take leave of absence from his job at the Ministry of Agriculture in order to get medical treatment for his ailment.
Prime Minister Tillman Thomas was among the first to express “deep sadness” at the passing of his Cabinet colleague.
The Prime Minister praised Lett for his contribution to his church, his community and the government, especially his leadership in expanding the contribution of Agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 5.2% in 2008 to over 7% in 2012.
“I always respected Mr. Lett, especially for his public service and his contribution to his community,” the Prime Minister was quoted as saying in a government news release.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Grenada, I extend sympathies to his family, his friends and those with whom he worked at the Ministry of Agriculture. We are all affected by the loss of this illustrious son of St. David,” the Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Thomas noted that the farming community “greatly respected” the Minister for Agriculture, who was the main architect for the farmers’ market project, which strengthened the link between the Tourism industry and the Agricultural sector.
The project also provided an avenue for farmers to market their produce directly to customers.
Prime Minister Thomas took time off on Tuesday from his busy campaigning schedule to visit the home of the late Minister at Petite Esperance to meet with family members.
The government is believed to be in dialogue with Lett’s relatives to discuss arrangements for his funeral.
Lett served as Minister for Agriculture since July, 2008. He was appointed to act as Prime Minister at various times during the last five years.
Meanwhile, the St. David’s Constituency Council of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) has issued a statement on the passing of their former leader.
The statement said it is with great sadness that the members have learnt of the passing of their Parliamentary Representative whom they described as being a great son of St. David’s.
The Council described the late government minister as a humble man whose life ethos was based on loyalty, hard work and patriotism.
“He was always there with the struggles of the Grenadian People over the last forty years”, said the statement.
It went on to say that Lett as Parliamentary Representative gave his all, whether as a sportsman, community activist, church member or a politician.
“Nothing was too much to give, he asked for nothing and his selflessness knew no limits. Most of all, we remember him as loyal member of the National Democratic Congress up to the time of his passing”, the statement added.
According to the statement, on Lett’s life journey, he faced many challenges but always stood up with honour and dignity and died on the job in the service of his country.
The St. David Constituency Branch of the New National Party (NNP) has also expressed “deepest condolences” to the family, friends and loved-ones of Lett on his passing.
The party cancelled all its political activities in St. David’s on Monday as a mark of respect for the former Parliamentarian.
The NNP Caretaker, Oliver Joseph referred to the move as “the smallest sacrifice we can make, for a fellow political stalwart and someone who has made such personal sacrifice, for the people of St. David”.
“I am certain that it would have been the wish of Mr. Lett to see the constituency united, towards a better St. David for all”, he said.
Details are still to be released on the funeral for the late Minister of Agriculture.