Salisbury loses a stalwart
Just before Christmas last year Salisbury, the west-central community severely traumatised by violent conflict with the police in 2015, said a quiet farewell to a prominent village elder, Vernon Anthony Vidal.
A giant and strong-willed man, Vidal lived quietly, died quietly and was laid to rest quietly among the rustling branches on a hill-side over-looking the placid Caribbean Sea on a balmy Friday evening. Undoubtedly, Vidal was a man in full.
Earlier, at the cosy Salisbury First Baptist Church, the church that Vidal founded and built in the centre of Salisbury, his friend and protégé Pastor Emanuel Parrilon told a packed church that Vernon had gone home and so too will every other man in this world.
"It is appointed unto man to die," Pastor Parrilon said in his summon at the funeral service. "I need to remind you that you have an appointment with death."
"Amen", the people said aloud especially when Pastor Parrilon added that Vernon Vidal told him, as he lay sick in bed, that he was ready to "go home".
Pastor Parrilon went on to describe man's life on earth as a shadow, dew upon grass, a vapour.
"Everyone who has made a braf knows what vapour is," he said.
But according to Cuthbert Vidal, his father lived long; Vernon's life was indeed a long-lasting vapour.
"By any standard 90 years of age is a very long time," said Cuthbert in the eulogy read by Joanne Vidal, Vernon's granddaughter. "Twenty years beyond the appointed time is like a lifetime."
According to the eulogy, Vernon Anthony Vidal was born on the 28th April 1926, and passed away on the 3rd December 2015. His mother was Francillia Vidal nee Williams (better known as Kuoy Tuoy).
"She was a very industrious, ambitious, hardworking, fun loving, no nonsense, culturally minded, and a very patriotic woman," Cuthbert said adding that his father inherited his grandmother's traits.
At school Vernon excelled in many subjects, Cuthbert said.
"He attended the Salisbury Primary School and graduated with two School Leaving Certificates, which could be compared to a first degree today", Cuthbert added.
He continued: "After leaving school, he got involved in many activities. He was a primary school teacher for a couple years, however farming he loved. He cultivated in many different areas including, Fond Gommier, Hollande, Cudjoe and a place at the base of Morne Diablotin called "Valley." It is sometimes said it should have been named Wild Pigs Desire because of the frequency that wild pigs visited and destroyed everything.
"Vernon loved sports, and his game was cricket in which he made his fame and left his name. He was better known as a bowler with pace, accuracy and consistency. It is often said, a day like today, he would have made the West Indies side easily.
"In 1951, he married his childhood sweetheart; the daughter of the late Jamsie Vidal and Fedinia Vidal. From their union came two sons, Stephen who resides in the USA and Cuthbert in Dominica. In June of this year, Linda and Vernon celebrated 64 years of marriage.
"During that period, they were generally seen together and cared for each other. He was a loving husband and a devoted father. In pursuant of a profession, he worked as a Forest Guard in the Government Service in the Delices and Bellevue district.
"In 1955, he migrated to England. He never felt comfortable with his children in Dominica, as well as his mother and wife's parents. Therefore in 1962, he returned to Dominica.
"On his return he immediately got involved in many community activities. He was at one time the President of the disbanded Salisbury Village Council. He served in numerous positions in the Salisbury Credit Union. He formed and chaired the Salisbury Farmers Group for many years. He served as a board member of both the D.B.M.0 and DEXIA.
"Politics! Oh yes. Like most other Dominicans he took active part in politics. As a matter of fact, in 1975, he was a candidate for one of the parties in the general election. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful.
"It is about that time that his life took a major turn. Many times, we hear people say never argue about religion or politics. His interpretation was much different. He did not allow politics to argue with his religion and he became a born again believer.
"Vernon together with his wife became members of the Salisbury First Baptist church. Indeed, he was a founding member. Within a few years he became a Pastor in that very church."
Vernon Vidal was a Baptist Pastor for 28 years.