The Bottom, as election 2015 is coming down closer to the final days I find it fitting for me to write the following tribute in honor of my father the legendary Island Council Member and leader of the Saba Labour Party, Ishmael Levenston.
For the sake of history let it be known that me and my father have never seen eye to eye politically and history would be on both of our sides that we have opposed each other on several occasions, but that did not stop me from realizing that he was my father. Although we have had our fall outs politically I can safely state that I have never had a face to face confrontation with him politically. We differed on many issues and it showed that democracy was still alive on Saba where party politics is concerned, and there was no attempts being made for any type of dynasty.
As my father publicly announced this will be his last run for public office I found it fitting this time around to render my full support to him together with my many other siblings. At this his final run he can feel safe that all of his sons for sure are with him for 100% including myself. I was one that never wanted to fall into any kind of dynasty and that is why I took my own political matters into my own hand.
My father the legendary Ishmael Levenston entered active politics for the first time in 1975 as a candidate on the Democratic Party list and was elected to serve on the council of the Windward Islands section Saba for the very first time. Coming out of a home of politics he entered the council when my deceased grandfather the legendary and visionary Matthew Levenstone stepped down from active politics after many years of serving as a member of the Island and Executive Council.
As I write this tribute I have to say this over the many years that my father has been in public office he was a defender of the people always fighting and working for the people. I don’t think that there is one politician that can say that he has ever asked for anything for himself. He has always been there fighting for others and even forgetting his own children or siblings. The people were everything for him and to him a matter which up until today he continues to do although not in the best of health. Recently from his sick hospital bed he would be still calling fighting for his people. My father could have done like some others close up shop and go home and forget about the people until it was election time. He could have also decided to go on cruises and enjoy his pension. My father doors has always been open for everyone whether you voted for him or supported him, he has not been like some others only know people when it was election time. History would show his home doors were never closed to the people like most other politicians here on Saba. We have former politicians that he has helped to get them elected and as soon as they got their big time salary etc. they turned their back on him. But God is good.
As a young man growing up here on Saba with my grandparents I could remember my father going over to St. Maarten and returning back by ways of Winair with boxes of cold storage, Dutch potatoes, pigtails etc. and from the airport to the The Bottom by the time he reached his home his Toyota pickup was empty. Those were the days that he would have the entire airplane full with cargo coming from St. Maarten. Everything he had he made sure to share it amongst the people. That is why I say come March 18th his final run the people of Saba should remember him dearly for what he has done for many. For him, he did not care which color politically one was supporting he was always willing to render that support and go that extra mile to know that he is helping.
I have seen people vote against him on Friday and by Saturday morning they would pass at his home and ask for something and he would take it down from his shelf and hand it to them knowing full well that the person voted against him. That is the person he has always been and that still goes on up until today.
Come March 18th people should never forget him and that is why I call on everyone that he has touched in one way or the other to remember him. Personally speaking my father has not done anything for me in any form or fashion. The people have been his calling all his life span.
I have seen people call him all kind of names and still he would turn around and gave them that cooperation that they needed. From the many telephone calls etc. for scholarships, pensions, daily allowances he was never afraid or too cheap to make that telephone call. There are some that are now also running against him in this election that he has helped and he did it with a good heart. That is why I say come March 18th do not send him off into retirement without him being able to be re-elected. Not one of the present Island Council members can tell you that they have done more than him for the people. He has worked hard for Blue as well as Orange.
My father does not know the word “NO” he would fight right down to the last. Because of his insistence I take it that every civil servant now working for the Central Government on Bonaire knows him for fighting for his people. He too could have been enjoying life like some others going on cruises etc but he decided to stick with the people he never ran away from the people and went into hiding.
Fellow Sabans, as his eldest child I call on all good citizens to come out and join me on March 18th and let us send him back to the Island Council with a full mandate for him and his party to take over the helm of this island. Let us send him in retirement knowing that at last his party has been able to win the Island Council elections. My father was never an office man he enjoyed being the everyday politician operating from his house and from the corners of the road. Never a make believe computer man or the latest equipment man he was a down to earth man fighting for his people
So in ending I say Vote Ishmael Levenston candidate number 1 on the Saba Labour Party, list number 2, cover the one on your left hand and vote directly right. Remember one thing on your voting ballot you will not be seeing his picture neither the color of his party so stay right and vote right. We need transparency within government.