The Caribbean region has sent out an outpouring of condolences on the passing of the distinguished Grenadian-born internationally recognised economist and statesman, Sir Alister McIntyre who passed away over the weekend in his adopted homeland of Jamaica.
Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell delivered condolences on behalf of the people of the Spice Isle on the passing of Sir Alister who was Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Dr. Mitchell said: It is with great sadness that I learnt of the passing of Sir Alister McIntyre. Grenada, Jamaica, in fact the entire Caribbean has lost a dear son who has left us a rich legacy, characterised by profound knowledge and unwavering commitment to regionalism.
Grenada was his homeland and Jamaica was where he lived but much of his life was spent in service to the people of the region.
Dr. Mitchell recalled that Sir Alister in his early career as a lecturer in economics at the University of the West Indies at the St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago and the Mona Campus in Jamaica, helped to mold the minds of many brilliant persons who have had the benefit of his teaching, some of whom have since earned acclaim in their respective countries and also at the regional level.
Later on, the Grenadian leader noted that as Vice Chancellor of UWI, Sir Alister contributed “to shaping the strategic direction of this noble regional institution”.
“Sir Alister was third in the line of distinguished Caribbean nationals who served as Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM),1974 to 1977, and his leadership of the organisation came at a critical juncture, just one year after the Treaty of Chaguaramas was signed.
“Sir Alister can therefore be considered one of the pioneers who shaped the infrastructure on which we have built our efforts at regional integration.
Dr. Mitchell went on: “I remember Sir Alister serving as Chief Technical Officer of the Caribbean regional Negotiating Machinery and playing a crucial role in trade negotiations at the international level. The early successes of that body in negotiations with the World Trade Organisation and the European Union spoke volumes of the technical capacity of individuals like Sir Alister.
“I recall too the deep anguish he expressed in 2005 when he informed me that he could not continue to serve as Chairman of the Agency for Reconstruction and Development which was established in the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Before medical issues precluded him from continued service in that capacity.
Sir Alister would have laid the essential foundation needed to ensure close collaboration among all stakeholders involved in the reconstruction process”.
The Grenadian leader spoke of the contribution made by Sir Alister to the sport of cricket which is revered by most Caribbean people.
He said: “… Sir Alister also left an imprint of his valuable contribution to the sport of cricket. During a period of crisis in our beloved sport, he was among distinguished persons given a mandate to examine the structure of West Indies cricket. Having had the opportunity to review that report, I was compelled to commend the panel for coming up with recommendations which I believe provided a pathway to the improvements we so desperately sought to regain the supremacy that once came so effortlessly.
“In so many capacities, Sir Alister provided irrefutable proof that he was the epitome of a Caribbean man, one who was a genuine proponent of national and regional developments that sought to improve the stature of the Caribbean.
“The region owes a debt of gratitude to Sir Alister. Bestowing him with the Order of the Caribbean Community demonstrated this gratitude. Sir Alister, we continue to be proud of the man you were and the service you gave. In parting therefore, I not only bid you farewell, but I also reiterate how thankful we are, as Grenadians and as Caribbean nationals, for the valuable contributions you made. You have indeed left an indelible mark on some of our pre-eminent regional institutions.
“To his wife Marjorie and his children, Arnold, Andrew, Helga and Nicholas, words may bring little comfort at this time, but I encourage you to take solace in the fact that he lived a full life and gave yeoman service. There is little else we could have asked of him. I am thankful for the personal sacrifices he would have made just so he could serve this region. I stand firmly with you in wishing him eternal peace.
The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley also expressed sadness on the passing of Sir Alister who she described as “one of the Caribbean’s most treasured scholars”, as well as “a respected economist, educator, administrator and true champion of regional integration”.
The female Barbados Prime Minister said: “This son of Grenada and son of the Caribbean will forever be remembered fondly as one of the Titans of the post Independence Caribbean to whom we owe much.
“My association with Sir Alister goes back to my days as a young politician when Sir Henry Forde introduced me to him when we met with The West Indian Commission, which was led by Sir Shridath Ramphal, as they travelled the region consulting with Caribbean people to prepare that seminal work, what came to be entitled “A Time for Action”.
“It was just two weeks ago today that I last spoke with Sir Alister and his voice was as strong and his thoughts and statements as clear, forthright and balanced as I have always known him to be.
“I cemented my relationship with him when I interacted with him frequently when I was Minister of Education and he was Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies. I count myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn at an early age from my interactions with Sir Alister and many other great Caribbean men and women as we served the region through building the UWI.
“The region and the wider hemisphere benefited immensely from the depth of thought and analysis that this former economics lecturer, Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Studies of the UWI (since renamed in honour of Sir Arthur Lewis), Secretary General of CARICOM, Deputy Secretary General of UNCTAD, and Assistant Secretary General in the Office of the Director General for International Economic Cooperation at the United Nations brought to the affairs of the people of the Caribbean and the world.
“On behalf of the people and Government of Barbados, I express deepest sympathies to Sir Alister’s wife, his children and his grand children, and indeed to his close friends.
The following statement was issued by UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles on the passing of Sir Alister who served as Vice-Chancellor of the regional university during the 1988-1998 period.
“Shocking is the news that our Sir Alister has passed. Larger than life in his long sojourn, it is difficult to embrace the finality of this existential fragility. The people of the Caribbean, and their University of the West Indies – which he served as Vice-Chancellor – will not be impoverished by his transition because the phenomenal richness of his contributions to their growth and transformation will continue to yield development dividends deep into the future.
“The love and respect we carry in our bosom for him will bloom a thousand blossoms.
To him I say, “Farewell brother, mentor, friend, and leader.
On behalf of your cherished UWI and the regional academy you guided and grew, go well into that bright light.”
A close working colleague of Sir Alister was Guyana-born former Secretary General of The Commonwealth, Sir Shridath Ramphal who issued a brief statement on his passing.
Sir Shridath said: “A precious light has gone out in our Caribbean world, with Alister McIntyre’s passing. He had devoted his life to Caribbean unity and was already, as he went, worrying over the darkening of the regional scene that threatens. The Region’s debt to Alister is payable only in a new enlightenment that makes Caribbean oneness the reality for which he lived”.