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Clive Pantin – The Total Man

Fatima College Principal Fr Gregory Augustine CSSp looks on as prefects take the coffin bearing the remains of Clive Pantin to the hearse. Staff and students bid farewell in a short ceremony in the courtyard before the coffin was transported to the nearby St Theresa’s RC Church, Woodbrook for the funeral. Photo courtesy Ronald Daniel.

By Kaelanne Jordan,  kjordan.camsel@rcpos.org

Clive Pantin was a classic servant statesman. He was an uncomplicated man who embraced the foundational Gospel values – he served, fed, clothed; he was a man of the Kingdom. And because Clive did that so well, he will now enter eternal glory.

This was the crux of the homily delivered by main celebrant Fr Gregory Augustine CSSp at last Tuesday’s funeral Mass for Clive Pantin at the St Theresa’s RC Church, Woodbrook.

Pantin, Fatima College Principal 1972–1981, sportsman, philanthropist, former Education Minister and founder of the Foundation for the Enhancement and Enrichment of Life (FEEL) passed away last Saturday at the age of 84.

The church was filled long before the 11 a.m. funeral, many of the mourners being Fatima College old boys. Among those paying their respects were President Anthony Carmona, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, Chief Justice Ivor Archie, Speaker of the House Brigid Annisette-George and current Education Minister Anthony Garcia, himself a former Fatima College Principal. The Pantin family occupied the front pews. Seated in the sanctuary were Archbishop Joseph Harris and Bishop Jason Gordon of Bridgetown who, like several of the other clergy present, attended the school.

Fr Augustine, the current principal, told the congregation that Clive is alive in the hearts and minds of all of us. He said, “It is our responsibility, our duty, we are duty bound because of this man to follow the footsteps of Christ, to do the right thing, to embrace our brothers and sisters.”

The Provincial Superior of the Holy Ghost Fathers revealed that Clive chose the Gospel (Mt 25: 31–46) and the first reading (Is 25:6–9) for his funeral. “I was no way surprised by this,” he said, adding that Pantin embodied and lived those words and values.

“Clive was an uncomplicated and very basic and fundamental man. He was a man of the Kingdom. He was a man who lived gospel values,” he said. Fr Augustine told the story of Pantin’s contribution to the College, highlighting that he was able to make decisions and establish his own brand as the first lay principal of Fatima College.

“Not only was he the brother of the Archbishop [Anthony], and the brother of Fr Gerry…but he was his own man. The first thing he did when becoming principal in 1972 was abolish that system of A, B, C. We were all going to classes according to our names, in alphabetical order, because he felt everyone deserved a chance, everyone has ability. And so 40-something years later on, almost 50, that system still exists. We thank God for his decision,” he said.

Fr Augustine said Pantin’s decision to enter the political arena, was “not surprising” as he was always civil minded. He explained that Clive saw his role as a politician, a servant of the people using his talents at the disposal of the entire country. “And that is what politics is all about. So he was indeed a true man. When we look at a person like Clive, we say yes, it is possible to serve, it is possible to love country, it is possible to do things for the good of others. Clive as a leader only sought to espouse the values of the total man, the total person.”

Before the funeral Mass, Fatima students dressed in full dress uniform lined the streets leading to the nearby church while prefects walked at the side of the hearse.

Proceeds from the collection went to the Foundation for the Enhancement and Enrichment of Life (FEEL), a registered charitable organisation founded by Pantin in 1992 to assist in the areas of poverty alleviation, disaster relief and recovery education and capacity building, and medical support.

Clive’s son Bernard Pantin delivered the eulogy (See pg 19), daughter Anna Pantin- Daniel, the first reading, and his five grandchildren offered the Prayers of the Faithful. Archbishop Harris performed the Final Commendation.

The body of Clive Pantin was later interred at the Lapeyrouse cemetery.