Joe T was caught and bowled by DLP
For years, Joseph 'Joe T' Thomas was a Dominica Labour Party (DLP) wet fish, joining friends of, and apologists for, the party and its leader, Roosevelt Skerrit, inside the DLP bubble, defending the government's every action no matter how questionable. To Joseph Thomas, neither Skerrit nor the DLP could do no wrong.
In his final days, even as he battled a number of ailments – he died on 5 November after suffering a stroke - the 66-year-old father-of-three would climb the steps to the Kairi FM studios to join fellow DLP apostles, including Hartley "Bottom Brain" Adams, Simeon Albert and Daryl Titre, in nakedly partisan posturing and glowing adoration of the party and its leader.
"Joseph was a living sacrifice to the DLP, and there's evidence, countless evidence, of that," his brother, Errol Thomas, told The Sun.
"The day before he got the stroke he was on Kairi [promoting the government]," added the grief-stricken brother.
But away from the glaring eyes of an unsuspecting public, the man whose mission was to present the DLP as wholesome and caring, was being treated as nothing but a footnote – ignored and abandoned, according to family members.
"You cannot tell me that you have a man who is diabetic, hypertensive and can hardly walk, struggle to come to the studios daily and not one of those he worked with or associated with, knowing his condition, advised him to take a break," complained Errol. "Instead, they watched him suffer until the very end."
An emotional Errol spoke of times when his brother was left helpless and alone after collapsing in the studio.
"There are countless times my nephew had to come to pick him up either in Roseau or inside of Kairi to take him home or to the hospital because he had collapsed," he said, an indication that none of Joe T's co-hosts cared enough to help him seek medical attention. "[They] only used him and tossed him aside when he was deemed no longer useful."
However, this was not the only contemptible episode which the younger brother exposed, suggesting this was an exhibition of the pathology of the party that Joe T loved so much.
For example, he told The Sun, within an hour of Joe T's passing, the locks on an apartment in Bellevue Rawle, which the government had given him, were changed, leaving another diabetic brother whom Joe T had taken in, homeless.
"[He] must be turning in his grave," said Errol of his late brother, whom he said took very special care of his siblings, often giving his last dollar to any of them in need.
"He died a painful death," added Errol through tears. "I can just imagine when he was on his hospital bed he must have been thinking, where are his friends, where are those he was looking out for, those who he thought would be there for him during his time of need."
However, the co-hosts, including Adams, Albert and Titre, along with other DLP acolytes, have vehemently denied that they abandoned their old friend, taking to the very airwaves that they shared on Kairi FM on Sunday to contradict Errol Thomas.
At the same time, they complained that Errol had barred them from attending the funeral, something they claimed Joe T would not have condoned.
But Errol explained that there was a simple reason for not including them on the list: COVID-19 protocols limited the number of people who could attend the funeral, therefore, only family members and close personal friends were allowed.
"Who could have cared for Joseph more than his family?" he asked. "They claim that they loved my brother so much yet still when he needed blood at the hospital I reached out to . . . guys in the DLP camp to donate some blood and not one of them responded."
Born in Marigot on 13 January 1955, Joe-T, the first of the five children, became a primary school teacher after graduating from the Dominica Grammar school, before pursuing a career as an insurance salesman, and later, as a journalist and broadcaster.
As a sports enthusiast, he was intimately involved with the various sporting bodies here – the boxing, cricket, football and table tennis associations, as well as the umpires and referees' associations.
But it was as a cricket commentator that he was best known, and Errol said he has fond memories of his older brother dedicating his life to the development of sports here.
"I remember Joe-T telling me, 'Errol listen,' then he would start reading some script that he had written about some sporting event and then he would say in a refined voice, 'tell me, how do you find it?'" he told The Sun.