"The nation is in a state of grief and sadness today over the passing of the late Sir Emile Rudolph Gumbs, Anguilla’s second and longest serving Chief Minister. Sir Emile served as Chief Minister from 1977 to 1980 and later from 1984 to 1994. He was a central figure in the early days of the Anguilla Revolution and was a Member of the Peace-Keeping Committee that ensured a smooth transition to law and order during those turbulent times.
Even as we mourn the loss of this fallen patriot we recognize that our grief and sadness can in no measure compare with that being experienced by his dear wife, Lady Josephine Gumbs who has been with him through many of the changing situations of his life. She has indeed been a pillar of strength and unwavering support until the very end. Our prayers are with her, his children Catherine and Larry as well as the entire family circle, as they persevere through this difficult period.
Sir Emile has touched the lives of Anguillans from all walks of life through his service both in Government and in the wider community. We will especially remember him for his sterling contribution to charting the course for Anguilla as a five star tourism destination. We thank him for the calmness and civility of his leadership style that has been the distinguishing mark of his service to the people of Anguilla. He was indeed a great statesman.
His passion for boats and boating was legendary. And his exploits in these pastimes earned him the respectful name: “Captain Dickie”. He was deeply immersed in Anguilla’s rich culture and tradition of the sea --- and he had countless tales to tell. I know that many keen boat-racing enthusiasts will be thinking of him especially during these upcoming Anguilla Day Celebrations.
We will all be saddened, by his untimely passing. But let us not to be unmindful of the supremacy of God’s plan even as we express our feelings of bereavement.
My prayers are with all of us but most especially with his dear wife and family whose sense of loss and bereavement we can never truly imagine in these moments and during the days, weeks, months and years ahead.
May his soul rest in peace.
Victor F. Banks