Former Governor General, Sir Reginald Oswald Palmer GCMG, MBE has died at the age of 93.
THE NEW TODAY understands that he died Monday morning after being bed-ridden in recent weeks.
Addressing the media during a press conference in St. George’s Monday afternoon, Press Secretary to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, Kisha Alexander Grant, extended “profound sympathy to the family and friends of Sir Reginald on behalf of the Government of Grenada.”
In a statement issued later in the day, Prime Minister Mitchell said, “Sir Reginald Palmer will be remembered and appreciated for his years of service to Grenada, ultimately becoming the Head of State (and that) thought and prayers of the Government and People of Grenada are with his family and friends on this sad occasion.”
The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has also expressed condolences to the family and friends of Sir Reginald.
“He is a man who has achieved quite a lot in education,” acknowledged NDC party chairman, Vincent Roberts during the weekly NDC press conference in St. George’s Monday morning.
“It is a loss for Grenada, one of the older heads and we take this opportunity to extend our condolences,” he said.
Also speaking on Sir Reginald’s passing in an interview with THE NEW TODAY Monday morning in St Andrew, was Acting Chief Education Officer Vincent Morain who expressed heartfelt sadness.
“I am very sorry to hear about the loss… Sir Reginald Palmer was a great servant, a great educator (who) molded the life of many throughout the nation and his legacy can speak for itself.
“That school that is named (since renamed J.W Fletcher Catholic Secondary School in Tanteen, St. George’s) after him in St. George’s speaks a lot about what he did…I think he was somebody that instilled discipline in people. He educated people and always motivated them to persevere to the end and use their God given potential to impart and generate all that is necessary as a human being to be a well-rounded citizen.
“I am very sorry of his loss and I think the nation as a whole would mourn for that great servant that we have lost.
Sir Reginald was sworn in as Governor General of Grenada on August 6, 1992 and served until August 8, 1996.
Born on February 15, 1923 in the small village of Boca, he was educated at the Beaulieu Roman Catholic School and the St. George’s Roman Catholic Boy’s School.
Sir Reginald worked as a pupil teacher for a short while, then in 1943 entered the Government Teachers’ Training College in Trinidad where he spent two years and was awarded the Trained Teachers Certificate.
Dedicated to the field of education, Sir Reginald became an assistant teacher at the St. George’s Roman Catholic Boys School from 1945 to 1956.
During that period he acquired the London Matriculation Certificate and in 1956 was made the Head Teacher of that school.
In 1963, Sir Reginald entered the University of Birmingham in England and following a two year programme, was awarded a certificate relative to a Course of Studies in Education for Heads of Schools and Administrators.
Sir Reginald was appointed a tutor at the Grenada Teacher’s College in 1968 and two years later entered the University of Calgary in Canada. He returned to Grenada in 1971 with a Bachelor of Education degree and the following year was promoted to the post of Assistant Education Officer.
In 1973 he was made Principal of the Grenada Teachers’ College, a post he held for only one year before becoming Chief Education Officer.
Sir Reginald retired from the public service in 1980 and, entering the private sector, served for two terms as President of the Grenada Employers Federation.
In addition to membership of several Catholic organisations, he has been at various times a member of the Governing Body of the Grenada Boy’s Secondary, the Public Service Commission, Grenada Education Advisory Council, Grenada Civic Awareness Organisation, the Labour Advisory Board, the Drug Avoidance Committee and the Local Advisory Council of the University of the West Indies School of Continuing Studies.
Sir Reginald is a foundation member of the Catholic Teacher’s Association, the Caribbean Association of Catholic Teachers and the Grenada Teachers’ Social Security and Welfare Association of which he was Secretary from 1951 to 1969.
As a member of the Grenada Union of Teachers, Sir Reginald advanced from Assistant Secretary to Vice-President and onto President. He has also represented this union on the Board of Education.
In 1973, his services to education were recognised when he was made a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) and, in 1972 when he became Governor General, he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George(GCMG).
Members of the Senate at a meeting of the Upper House of Parliament on Tuesday at the Grenada Trade Centre, Grand Anse, St. George paid glowing tribute to the late Sir Reginald who will be accorded a State funeral.