FOR the second time this year THE VOICE family started a work week seeped in grief. First it was our former editor Guy Ellis in February. The news of his death was like a blow to our solar plexus making it difficult for us to breathe.
On the first working day of this week we received another body-blow. Another member of THE VOICE family, Victor Marquis, a former editor had passed. The news knocked the wind out us, rendering us unbalanced.
Messages of condolence abounded with so many of his multitude of friends seeking to connect to reminisce and share their experiences of the man with each other.
But while life does not stand still, we pause to recall the life, as we knew it to be, of Vic –who spent 14 years with THE VOICE from July 2000 – December 2014.
Victor Marquis was, in many respects unique. He was strong in his convictions such as being at odds with those of us who believe in the existence of an omnipotent God.
This was just one layer of Marquis who could, in one minute, quote scripture, despite his agnostic views of the God of Christians, and the next minute write out the recipe of a dish found only in high end restaurants.
And if you think that’s astonishing, just show interest in wines and the culinary arts and you will find yourself in his dining room eating one of those amazing dishes prepared by him while listening to a discourse on the wine next to your plate and on wines in general. Not only did he enjoy wines, he was in practice a sommelier.
But all that is just scratching the surface of the person we knew as Victor Marquis. His ability to put words together to create stories to capture the hearts and minds of children and adults alike was phenomenal.
His books ‘Zandolie’ and ‘Search’ display this exceptional gift. But peel another layer off Marquis and you are confronted by a man with an imagination bigger than this world and as sharp as a two-edged sword, as readers of his book ‘Of Cabbages and Kings’ found out.
Then there is Victor Marquis the Linguist, skilled in both English and French, effortlessly changing from one to another depending on the occasion.
His love for Mas – Carnival that is, is well recorded and those who know can attest to his keen involvement at all levels in the Turks carnival band back in the day.
Victor Marquis was also an accountant, a political activist at some point in his life, a partygoer and an all-round pleasant person.
We will not soon forget the many times he entertained us at his Pavee home on December 12, drinking, eating, playing dominoes waiting for the fireworks to start, to herald National Day, December 13.
You had the best seats in the house in those days as the launching of the National Day fireworks took place on the grounds of Marquis’ house mere yards from our position on his double-decked balcony.
Those impressive displays of fireworks bursting straight above our heads, and illuminating us in their brilliant colours and light, simply made our jaws drop. The sight was unforgettable. The explosions which rocked the night skies as the fireworks exploded into fading fragments of brilliance had us transfixed. These same fireworks were viewed by thousands of people who gathered on the Derek Walcott Square to take in the glorious sight.
As we say goodbye to Vic, we also say a big thank you to him for sharing so much of his life with us. But even as we reminisce on the good times with him, we mourn his passing. May he rest in perfect peace.