Former Foreign Affairs, Legal Affairs and Local Government Minister, Dr Raphael Fletcher has died after a prolong illness.
The 86 year old Fletcher, a physicist and university lecturer, came to national attention when he resigned from the ruling New National Party (NNP) government in 1998, accusing the then administration of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell of being corrupt.
A former island scholar, Dr. Fletcher first ventured into local partisan politics with the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) of late Prime Minister, Sir Eric Gairy.
Dr. Fletcher became Deputy Political Leader of the party and was identified by Sir Eric as his successor.
The two fell out and Fletcher soon formed his own Grenada People’s Movement.
The party soon folded and Dr. Fletcher joined the NNP to successfully contest the 1995 general elections in the Town of St. George constituency.
The NNP won eight of the fifteen seats and Dr. Fletcher was named as Minister of Foreign Affairs and spent most of the next three years engaged in extensive traveling on behalf of the government.
In 1998, differences surfaced between Fletcher and Mitchell on allegations of corruption. He stunned the government when he walked into the official residence of then Governor-General, Sir Daniel Williams close to mid-night and submitted his resignation as a government minister.
Fletcher was soon joined by the embattled Member of Parliament for St. John, Grace Duncan whom Dr. Mitchell had earlier fired from his Cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister.
The internal problems forced Prime Minister Mitchell to call early general elections in 1999 and he proceeded to win all fifteen seats, a feat he did again in February 2013.
Fletcher and Duncan contested on a joint labour platform that involved the GULP and the People’s Labour Movement of former Attorney-General Dr. Francis Alexis.
Fletcher was defeated by former Foreign Minister Mark Isaac for the South St. George constituency and he soon withdrew from frontline politics.
His last public political appearance was during the 2008 general elections when he made a brief return to NNP and campaigned on the platform alongside Dr. Mitchell.
Fletcher who once worked in Libya as a physicist in the era of Colonel M’uamar Gaddafi will be buried today (Friday) following a tribute and funeral service at the St George’s Cathedral of Immaculate Conception.
As a former parliamentarian, the ex-St. George Town MP will be afforded an official state funeral.