The community of Portsmouth is mourning the loss of businessman McIntyre Douglas.
Douglas, 68, who was more popularly known as ‘Mark’, died on Sunday 12 August 2018 while seeking medical treatment in England.
He was the uncle of Member of Parliament for the Portsmouth Constituency, Ian Douglas and former press secretary Sean Douglas. He was also the brother of former prime minister Roosie Douglas and former Member of Parliament for Portsmouth, Michael ‘Mike’ Douglas.
Sean Douglas told Vibes News on Monday 13 August that McIntyre was a committed and devout Catholic who returned from England in 1988/1989 and spent twenty-one years managing the family business which included the Douglas Snackette and Arbeedee Cinema at Portsmouth.
“He was the one who popularized Douglas Ice Cream because before he came in, Douglas Ice Cream was an idea, it was a concept and it was Mark Douglas, my uncle, who really took Douglas Ice Cream out there,” Sean recalled.
He also recalled McIntyre as a man of honesty, integrity and principles.
One such example, Sean recalled, is of McIntyre voicing his opinion in 2001 when it appeared that government was going to vote against Japan at the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
McIntyre hosted “a massive meeting at the Arbeedee Cinema, he brought in persons from outside to speak with the same views as his” since there were environmentalists who were urging government to vote against Japan and the sustainable use of marine resources.
In the end the government basically yielded on this particular issue and voted with Japan at the IWC.
“And because of his relationship with the Japanese Government, through the Japanese Embassy in Trinidad, Mark was able to secure funding from a Japanese Government agency to build two public conveniences; one in Chance and one in Glanvillia,” Sean informed.
He also spoke out, “very firmly” as per Sean, against government’s decision to impose the value added tax (VAT) in 2006.
“He felt that coming so soon after a programme of stabilization, and recovery, and cuta and all that, he felt that that was the wrong timing, he felt that VAT was a repressive tax,” Sean said.
In the end, the VAT was imposed but Sean said McIntyre “believed passionately that VAT was the wrong way to go at the time but despite the fact that it was the view of his party – the Labour Party, he took a different view”.
Although McIntyre’s opinion sometimes differed from that of the Dominica Labour Party which he supported, Sean said he continued to speak out.
For example, in 2011 when government decided not to renew Tiyani Behanzin’s contract as a magistrate. Behanzin is the son of former prime minister Roosie Douglas.
In 1980, when the Dominica Freedom Party decided to rescind the European Development Fund’s scholarship to awarded Cheryl Dear, niece of Mike Douglas, Finance Minister at the time, to study computer science at Bradford, McIntyre Douglas also spoke out.
“So he was a person of principle, of integrity, of honesty,” Sean recalled adding that he was also a big supporter of the Dominica Labour Party who gave crates of drinks free of charge after the party won the general elections in 2000.
He is survived by one daughter Lyn, several siblings and other relatives.
“Personally, for me it will be a tremendous loss, he was more a father to me than an uncle,” Sean said.
“Somebody that the people of Portsmouth will miss because he was a man that was liked, he was loved; he wasn’t a politician like Mike [Douglas] or Roosie [Douglas], but he was a community man,” Sean added.