Tribute from Harold Lovell to the late Ralph Francis:
Ralph was my friend but it is fair to say, Ralph was everyone’s friend.
Ralph Francis loved people and people loved him.
Ralph was a straight-talking, down-to-earth, cool kinda guy.
I had known of Ralph before I met him in London in 1984. He was just completing his Bar exams and I was just starting my studies in law.
Ralph practiced extensively, though not exclusively, at the criminal bar and earned a well-deserved reputation as a friend of the poor who routinely gave his time and talent pro bono.
He was never afraid or shy to advance novel legal submissions, and he gained some notable landmark decisions. But even though he didn’t always get it right, no one could question his passion for justice nor his sincere desire to right the wrong.
He was fearless in his quest to defend the constitutional rights of the people and was uncompromising in his distaste for tyranny and repression of any sort.
We were brothers-in-arms during the formative years of the UPP and fought many political battles, side by side, on the frontlines — among them the fight for access to the public media.
When Ralph had a point or a belief, he would argue for hours, holding his point to the end. He was not a man easily swayed and it took a lot to impress him. Yet, he was that rare breed of political partisan with the charming ability to disagree agreeably.
The man Ralph will no longer be there to kill us with his dry humour, to challenge and tease our intellect, or to simply call a spade a spade. We will surely miss him. But history will judge him as a good man and one of a kind.
I extend condolences on behalf of the United Progressive Party, and on my own behalf, to his family. May his soul rest in peace.
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