By: Basil Springer

"Until one is committed, there is always a chance to draw back, there is always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Begin it now!" - German Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the supreme Romantic figure unsurpassed in European literature.

In November 1993, Dr. Colin Hudson convened three brain storming sessions to apprise 2500 volunteers about the Village of Hope which would be a major attraction at the first global UN conference on "Sustainable Development in Small Island Developing States" in April 1994, hosted by Barbados. Loyal souls of all ages performed to show case Barbados to the rest of the world through a magnificent extravaganza of exhibits.

In order to benefit from the momentum generated by the success of the Village of Hope, the late Dame Nita Barrow hosted a meeting at Government House to discuss the next steps. The Future Centre Trust was formed as a global model for sustainable development, with Colin the visionary. I was asked by him to be the Chairman.

Colin introduced me to the work of von Goethe in June 1994. If the above excerpt were taken on seriously by each and every one of us, what a wonderful world this would be.

I came across a very interesting article which Co lin shared with me. It was entitled "Educating A Nation: The Natural Step". It was by a Swedish author Dr.Karl-Henrik Robert. In the article he is promoting a remarkable nation-wide programme which unites Sweden in moving from linear to cyclical processes-the hallmark of sustainability. He stated that the only processes that we can rely on indefinitely are cyclical; all linear processes must eventually come to an end.

Although so many people benefited by association from Colin‚s visionary leadership in 1994, my memory goes back to the late sixties at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad where I first met Colin. I remember a dynamic young Englishman in pursuit of his Ph.D. in the department of soil science. I was biometrician at the University at the time.

When I returned to Barbados in 1974, I was involved in many agricultural development projects and came into contact with Colin quite frequently at his Edgehill Office on the site of the now Future Centre. In the eighties, several of us used to meet regularly, including Colin , in search of sustainable solutions in the agricultural sector. Regulars at these sessions were Patrick Bethell, Edward Cumberbatch, Keith Laurie and Delisle Worrell.

In 1994, Mr. Lawrence Duprey identified sugar cane and cotton as two crops which have a comparative advantage in Barbados and which could be industrialised. This was sweet music particularly to the ears of Dr. Colin Hudson and my sister Helen Springer. Colin and the late Graham Gooding campaigned for years for diversification away from sugar as a commodity. Colin and Graham regularly shared information on over 100 products from a sugar cane base, some of which are products from sugar itself .This is where Lawrence Duprey's focus lay. Helen had written an article to the press in January 1993 encouraging the public and private sectors to focus on the opportunity to systematically develop a West Indian Sea Island Cotton industry . In January 2004, at the annual conference of the Barbados Society for Technologists in Agriculture, there were implementation presentations on the diversification of Barbados‚ agriculture into cotton and sugarcane based value-added commodities. At the end of the day, I sensed an air of gratification on Colin‚s countenance.

In the summer of 1996, I joined Colin and his father on a visit to The Earth Centre in Doncaster, which is a New Vision for the Third Millennium. The Earth Centre will become a focus for environmental excellence and education in the UK as well as an important centre for research and the demonstration of new technologies and products.

Grants from a German benefactor, Dieter Mennekes, in the past, had enabled Colin to be available to the Future Centre Trust on a full time basis. However, when the grant period ended without any replacement in sight , the dedicated group of Trustees who included the late Ambassador Noble Power, Wilfred Beckles, Errol Griffith, Dr Trevor Carmichael, Dean Harold Chrichlow and myself provided modest short term financial support to the Centre until we considered the next step.

It was at this point that Colin embarked on his new enterprise „Treading Lightly‚ next door, resulting in a shift of his focus away from the Future Centre Trust. In 2000 Counterpart International expressed an interest in extending its programmes into the Caribbean through the establishment of Counterpart Caribbean, as an affiliate of Counterpart International Inc. Counterpart Caribbean then succeeded the Future Centre Trust.

I regret that I was out of the island for Colin‚s funeral but on behalf of the Patron of Counterpart Caribbean. Sir Neville Nicholls, the board of directors, volunteers and staff, I would like to extend sincerest condolences to Colin‚s relatives and close friends.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is C hange-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. (CBET) - )