by Augustin Charles, PhD (UWI), JP
MY OPEN THOUGHTS OF MAURUS FAUCHER, JP
MY FIRST ENCOUNTER
I first knew Maurus Faucher when I was a school boy, perhaps age 13. In fact my first encounter with him is still very vivid in my mind. There was a beachside cricket match in the Village - exactly where the Choiseul Fisheries is located - and he was the scorer. Upon looking at the "scoresheet", his stylish penmanship immediately caught my attention. I told my friends said “I wish I could write like this”.
Indeed, he had the most stylish handwriting I had ever known; and even when it was elegantly stylish, it was extremely legible.
Later on, I learned he was also the printer/painter who inscribed most of those lovely names and insignia on the canoe boats that lined our beachfront. I was also told that he was the one who also printed names on the "Milo", "Sweet peace" and "Sugar Plum" trucks.
THE GOOD SAMARITAN
As I grew up, I got to know Mr Faucher more and more. He was probably the “lone loud voice” in a typically quiet and serene village setting. He had an irresistible penchant for intellectual exchanges; and so he would normally judge your quality by your eloquence. In other words, if you were eloquent, you were bright; if you were not, you were - to quote him - a “nonentity” or a “numbskull”.
Mr Faucher took up residence in the community of Le Riche (just a couple of hundred yards down the road from me) about 40 years ago; and our close physical proximity to each other resulted in the deepening and broadening of both my knowledge and relationship with him.
As time went by, I began to discover the deep sense of humanity in him - despite his seeming confrontational façade. I finally discovered he was a Good Samaritan who was very responsive to people’s needs and sufferings.
|THE VILLAGE WHERE FAUCH WAS BORN|
I remember when he first came to live at Le Riche, he was the only person who owned a vehicle and the quantum of voluntary service he gave to the community was unrivalled. That service became even more pronounced when he took up a new job with LINMORE in Vieux Fort. The pickup van he drove was the regular mode of transportation for so many commuters and there was never a hint of a grudge from him.
Another attribute of Fauch was his uncompromising “Choiseulian-ness”, perhaps to the point of fixation, territoriality and even discrimination. That manifested itself in an unapologetically pro-Choiseulian advocacy which may have come dangerously close to a predisposition for “preferential treatment" and "special priority", which he afforded to Choiseulians who sought better opportunities in the businesses he managed. Perhaps, he understood the indigence, the poverty and vulnerability which his people faced.
|JUST OUTSIDE MR FAUCHER'S VILLAGE HOME|
By the same token, he unabashedly renounced - and had scant respect for - his fellow Choiseulians who turned their backs on the village that gave them birth. That was perhaps an expression of the magnitude of his “patriotism” for his “village”.
CHOISEUL: SELF-SUFFICIENT IN TALENT
He was of the general view that Choiseul was not only self-sufficient in food and fish but equally in talent; and given that some of the Choiseul talent in the diaspora would be invested in Choiseul, then (he thought) we would have become a far better community way above and beyond the “plus belle village” concept.
Mr Faucher also subscribed to the view that Choiseul was not being profiled in proportion to its talents and resources; perhaps that explains why he indefatigably took to the talk-show circuit and saw himself as an “ambassador plenipotentiary” for that purpose. But it may also be more than that: Mr Faucher loved to share information and he did so impulsively and compulsively - as was the case when he took it on his own to prematurely announce Lorne’s candidacy for Choiseul.
THE TALK SHOW CIRCUIT
Before passing away, he shared a story of disappointment with me, involving his favourite talk show host. He told me that he was so overwhelmed by Lorne’s candidacy that he wanted to be the one to break the news on his favorite talk show programme. But he explained that his treatment by the host brought him so much psychosomatic stress that he stopped calling that show for an extended period of time.
That incident somewhat reshaped his perception of some of the presenters who he claimed hid behind a cloak of objective journalism; but he thought they were actually “Trojan Horses” planted on the Talk show circuit to serve political interests.
VORACIOUS FOR NEWS & INTELLECTUAL EXCHANGE
He was voracious for news, and hunting for intellectual exchange; and in this regard, his favourite companion was his 12-band radio which allowed him to listen to a broad spectrum of views locally, regionally and internationally. Living in Choiseul gave him a distinct opportunity to savour news and intellectual discourses from the islands of the Southern Caribbean (St. Vincent, Barbados, Grenada and Trinidad). Hence, he was in an enviably strong position to compare and judge the quality of discourse across those islands with that of our own. He was also a keen subscriber to BBC radio, Voice of America and a number of international radio stations on the shortwave band.
Mr Faucher’s regarded the radio not just as a companion; but also as learning medium, a kind of "open university".
WAS HE A CONUNDRUM?
Some people regarded Mr Faucher as “conundrum”, especially when he made that dramatic political shift from the UWP - the party that he loved and supported all his life – to SLP; a fact that he made no bones about. But it was not just a shift of allegiance; it was the precedence of kinship over politics. Indeed, Mr Faucher had a strong sense of kinship which generally circumscribed his outlook on life. He subscribed to the kweyol philosophy “Né konyen; zyé pléwé".
There was absolutely no doubt he loved his politics; but he was also a tormenter of politicians, especially if that politician was his "adversary".
NOT PERFECT BUT MANY PERFECT ATTRIBUTES
Mr Faucher was not perfect; but he demonstrated many perfect qualities such as frankness, honesty, devotion to his family, a deep sense of humanity and the pursuit of wisdom. These are lasting legacies that he left us!
Fauch, we will dearly miss you; we will miss your voice on the radio; we will miss your cliches and idioms; we will miss your analyses; we will miss your love, your advice. But we know the almighty has performed his will. Indeed, "Life is just a pilgrim on earth". May God bless you.
Mr Faucher rest in peace!