He was the strand that held the family together
EULOGY: Heskeith Andrew Alexander (As delivered by his lifelong friend Milner Francis)
Thank you all for coming to help us celebrate Heskeith's life and share in our grief at his passing.
I first met Heskeith in the late SO's when we attended the Dominica Grammar School and we shared living space and lodgings at Ma Sammy's in Roseau. We have been close friends since then.
Heskeith was born in the village of Delices in Dominica on the 1st of December 1942, the last of nine siblings. He attended the Delices Primary school, before moving on to the Dominica Grammar School.
He migrated to England in 1960. He attended the Post Office Engineers Training School in London and worked as a telephone technician with the Post Office (now British Telecom). We met again in 1966 when I migrated to the UK and our friendship continued to this day. I got to know the rest of the family and you could see and feel that he was the hub of the family- everyone was "Keith, Keith, Keith". He was the strand that held the family together.
In 1968, he confided in me that he had found his jewel- a girl named Marie. The rest was history...in 1970 they got married and had their firstborn, lan, in 1971. I was proud to have been chosen to be his Godfather.
In 1972, he got a "pied-chaud" and on instinct he decided to return to Dominica to help his ailing mother and venture into farming. Thereafter, their daughters K-Marcelyne and Ann-Marie arrived, in due course.
He immersed himself in helping his local community. He held numerous positions, some gratis:
Provided free Adult Education classes;
Elected Village Council Chairman of Delices;
District Manager of the Bay Oil Cooperative;
Chairman of the Farmers' Co-operative;
Chairman of the Eastern District Association of Village Councils;
Treasurer of the Church Council.
He attended a course in Co-operative Management at the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies, in Trinidad. His work with co-operatives also took him to the Labour College in Barbados and the International Centre for Technical and Vocational Training in Turin, Italy.
In 1980, he entered the political arena and was elected to parliament on a Freedom Party ticket, as representative for the La Plaine Constituency. He would go on to win 2 further consecutive terms. During his time in parliament, he served as Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries & Co-operatives, Minister for Community Development Housing & Social Affairs and Minister of Labour & Immigration.
Thereafter, he retired to his farm. He played a vital role in the promotion of organic farming and was a great advocate for 'growing what we eat and eating what we grow'.
His farm flourished with numerous fruit trees, ground provisions and livestock. A pioneer in the production of pineapple, on a large scale in Dominica and he was a founding member of NIPPA (Nature Island Pineapple Producers Association).
In 2005 Keith was honored with the Dominica Meritorious Service Award.
In 2010, in collaboration with the St. Vincent De Paul Society, he was instrumental in the conception and creation of the "House of Hope" in his community- a place where physically challenged young people would be cared for.
During one of his trips to visit his children and grandchildren in the UK, he fell ill and failed to recover.
He passed away on 24th September 2018.
Heskeith Andrew Alexander is survived by his wife Maria, three children lan, K-Marcelyne and Ann-Marie, grandchildren -Serena, Rohann, Kynan, Anya, Dylan, Kuiama and C'Ariyah, daughter-in-law lndi, son-in-law Alden, seven surviving brothers and sisters, Uosepher, joseph, Thomas, Marcelyne, Christaline, Eugene and Philbert), brothers and sisters-in-law and numerous nephews, nieces, cousins and friends.
The family wishes to express their sincere appreciation and gratitude to all those who offered comfort, support and prayers throughout his illness and after his death.
(Note: A Memorial Mass for the Honourable Heskeith Andrew Alexander was held on Friday April 12th 2019 at the Cathedral Chapel in Roseau)