What Lessons Can We Learn From The Fox?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Toni Nicholas

The sud­den death of any pop­u­lar fig­ure in Saint Lu­cia is al­ways met with ut­ter shock, if only un­til the body has been in­terred. It also re­minds us more than ever of our own mor­tal­ity, and the cer­tainty of death that comes not only as a thief in the night but of­ten like a day­light rob­ber with an itchy trig­ger fin­ger. Thanks to so­cial me­dia, how­ever, the ex­pres­sions of con­do­lences seem end­less.

The pass­ing of John ‘Fox’ Ben­jamin was no dif­fer­ent. Re­port­edly he fell ill at the IGY Rod­ney Bay Ma­rina on the evening of Tues­day May 23. He of­ten vis­ited the spot, not only as a pa­tron but also as an en­ter­tainer well ap­pre­ci­ated for of­ten sting­ing pi­cong. Fox was rushed to the Gros Islet Poly­clinic. Alas, he suc­cumbed to a sus­pected heart at­tack. By that evening my Face­book Timeline was a like a book of con­do­lences, with new trib­utes ap­pear­ing on the se­cond.

Fox was an ar­dent ca­lypso fan - among the prom­i­nent mem­bers of tent pinez. By pop­u­lar ac­count he en­joyed boat rides, car­ni­val and old­school fetes. Many shared their mem­o­ries of Fox on Face­book, de­scrib­ing him as par­tic­u­larly jovial, a char­ac­ter who shared hi­lar­i­ous life ex­pe­ri­ences with who­ever would lis­ten. Al­most ev­ery­one de­scribed Fox as “a sim­ple guy”.

I was never close to Fox but knew he was a staunch sup­porter of the Saint Lu­cia Labour Party who wore his colours with spe­cial pride and at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity. I met Fox on a boat ride some time ago. This is how he in­tro­duced me to the cap­tain and another friend: “Gassa, you eh know dah man. Mate is a top jour­nal­ist, al­ways giv­ing us pres­sure, ” ‘us’ mean­ing his party which was then the gov­ern­ment. We all laughed.

Fox took great plea­sure tak­ing jabs at his po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents, but never with mal­ice. How things have changed! Even among the me­dia fra­ter­nity some have be­come so in­fected by the can­ni­bal­is­tic virus that is Saint Lu­cian pol­i­tics that longestab­lished have bit­ten the dust in con­se­quence. Even on Face­book the ex­pressed con­do­lences com­peted for space with po­lit­i­cal trash dumped on the dead.

If we can re­mem­ber any­thing about Fox it might be that as much as he loved his pol­i­tics, he loved his friends and fel­low Saint Lu­cians equally. He taught all who met him that we can dis­agree on some mat­ters and still walk away smil­ing and in good hu­mour. We are all Saint Lu­cians, af­ter all; broth­ers and sis­ters.

John “Fox” Ben­jamin worked as a roofing con­trac­tor with Caribbean Met­als. He was a mem­ber of the Monchy com­mu­nity.

John “Fox” Ben­jamin has left a legacy for all who were for­tu­nate to have known him.

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