Tribute to Mrs. Joan Thompson. A bright light for liberty

First Published: 2015-09-06

On Saturday I lost a kindred spirit – a sister in every way but biologically.

Mrs. Thompson lost her fight to a debilitating lung disorder after many years, having lived, in most respects, a glorious life.

An undaunted spirit, she was always optimistic, no matter how concerned she may have been about the bad ideas being implemented with pubic policy. Economics was a subject she loved dearly. In fact, being around her one could not help but become fascinated by what most people refer to as ”the dismal science".

You might say that Mrs. Thompson is to blame for my interest in Liberty or Freedom. Back in 1994 I think it was, she gave me a copy of Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson and it opened my eyes to the scarcity of reasonable public policy.

On my last visit with Mrs. Thompson it was clear that the call would soon come to confirm that my dear friend had moved on.

Mrs. Thompson was one of the prime movers of what came to be called the Nassau Institute. And the Board of Directors agreed to name its office, the Joan Thompson Room, as a lasting tribute to her memory. Quotations from some of her favourite economists will be displayed on the walls as well.

We also confirmed that we would name one of the lectures each year The Joan Thompson Freedom lecture.

She teared up a bit when told about these honours and quickly explained she appreciated them but was "not worthy". Of course that was dispelled immediately.

As the late US President Ronald Reagan pointed out: "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."

Adequate words fail me in this sad time but I can confidently assert that Joan Thompson was the brightest light for freedom in The Bahamas from the over-indulgence of the state. I have lost a valued, respected and dear friend. She called me her "buddy", and I admired her greatly.

I can also say that Mrs. Thompson has charged us to continue to pursue our goal of creating a full-time economic think tank for The Bahamas. On my last visit she implored me to "get another woman on the board".

Even though she was a diminutive lady, we’ve got some darn big shoes to fill.

Sail on Mrs. Thompson. I will miss you my "buddy".


Mrs. Thompson was born in Canada, and was a graduate of the University of Toronto where she met her husband to be, Mr. Chester Thompson. They were married and moved to The Bahamas (Fresh Creek, Andros) where Mr. Thompson served as Commissioner.

Mrs. Thompson opened her first Brass and Leather Shop on Cumberland Street in 1960. It was soon moved to Charlotte Street where it operates today.

Mrs. Thompson was predeceased by her daughter Jennifer and her husband. She is survived by her two daughters Juliana and Christina, three sons-in-law Robert, Peter and David, eleven grandchildren, two great grandchildren, her brother Dr. Paul Bratty, her sister Lola Bratty and other nieces and nephews.

She was founding president of The Nassau Institute.


The image shows Mrs. Thompson with one of her favourite Lights for Liberty, Mr. Lawrence (Larry) Reed, President of the Foundation for Economic Education on one of his visits here to present a lecture.

Edited 8:30pm, September 6, 2015.

Thanks to Larry Smith of Media Enterprises Ltd for editing help.

Another Hat Tip to Dr. Paul Bratty, Mrs. Thompson’s brother for assistance with this brief bio above.

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