Long-standing SVG opposition stalwart passes

Vincent Bacchus.
Stephen “Scombo” John

Vincent L. Bacchus, a long-standing stalwart of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, died on March 26 in Queens after a short period of illness. He was 84.

Bacchus, a former president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Progressive Organization of New York (SPOONY), the NDP’s New York arm, and former president of the Brooklyn-based group, Vincentian American Independent National Charities, Inc. (VINCI), was interred on Thursday, April 4 in Queens.

According to Bernard Wyllie, a former St. Vincent and the Grenadines government minister and public relations officer of SPOONY, Bacchus was predeceased by his wife, Gloria, of 62 years, and his sons, Nick and Anthony “Code Red.” Gloria Bacchus died on Jan. 24, 2019.

Wyllie, who was Counsellor to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Mission to the United Nations, during the reign of the NDP, described Bacchus as “a humble man who had a great sense of humor.

“He was a foundation member and first president of the Progressive Organization of New York, Inc.,” he told Caribbean Life over the weekend. “He was a fixture on the executive body of SPOONY and served in various capacities in the organization, including president, vice-president, and treasurer; and, up to the time of his passing, he was one of the trustees.”

Wyllie said Bacchus held “a wealth of institution knowledge” of the NDP and especially within SPOONY.

“He was a long-standing and vocal member of SVGNDP, a daily listener to the party’s programs, as well as Nice Radio, and a frequent contributor to its call-in programs,” said Wyllie, referring to the local radio station, which is often described as the “mouthpiece” of the NDP.

“He was highly respected for his keen interest in resolving matters relative to the advancement of the organization,” he added. “He was always prompt and paid rapt attention to the details of every cause, whether it was to attend meetings, where he would be the first to arrive or any event hosted by SPOONY.

“He always ensured that the fundamentals were put in place, so that a successful outcome was assured,” he continued. “’Brother B’, as he was so affectionately called, never hesitated to remind his SPOONY colleagues of his ‘seniority’, while simultaneously demonstrating his agility to perform as productively as any other member.

“If he had to resort to a militaristic style in order to accomplish a task, he would do so, but will never forget to thank you after the goal had been successfully accomplished,” Wyllie said.

He said Bacchus was also highly reliable and very “appreciative of the respect his colleagues bestowed on him.”

In addition, Wyllie said Bacchus served St. Vincent and the Grenadines as a police officer, primarily in the Radio and Telecommunications Department.

“He was a technician and an avid Ham radio operator,” he said.

Stephen “Scombo” John, SPOONY president, also told Caribbean Life that: “If you were unfamiliar with Mr. Bacchus, you would not realize that, under that militaristic exterior was a God-fearing man of great compassion and generosity.”

He said Bacchus’s adult life was shaped by his experience in the Royal St. Vincent and Grenadines Police Force.

“From the way he dressed, the way he spoke, to the way he conducted his life, the influence of the police force was quite evident,” said John, a retired public school principal in Brooklyn.

“It is that combination of admired characteristics that won him the respect and admiration of the members of SPOONY,” he added.

John said Bacchus served “with distinction and honor” every position he held in SPOONY.

“However, it was his parliamentary and militaristic guidance that we would remember most,” he said. “For Bro B, the only way to get things done was the right way.

“He was meticulous in taking notes, and he combined that skill with an excellent memory to keep us in line,” he added. “I benefited from his generosity and resourcefulness.”

John disclosed that Bacchus “volunteered his home” in Queens as the official mailing address of SPOONY, adding that “this remained so even to his passing.”

“His late wife, Gloria, and him offered their home and resources to be used to the benefit of our organization,” he said. “Their presences at all SPOONY events were a constant. He was an NDP warrior to the end.”

John said, when he visited Bacchus a few days before his passing, “he seemed a little sluggish until he began to advise me of the steps NDP needed to take to resolve the ‘Petition Case’.

“He became very alert and animated,” he said. “He expressed no confidence in the outcome but suggested that our party focus on the next general elections.

“I will miss his counsel and support,” John added. “’Mr. President’, he would say, ‘you can always count on my support.’ I am grateful for his friendship and his fatherly advice.”

Bacchus is succeeded by two sons, Lancelot and Andre, in Queens; eight grand-children and 11 great grand-children.

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