SHRIDATH RAMPHAL The Commonwealth and the WorldProduct no.: HP109
Edited by Richard Bourne
This anthology of essays provides glimpses of a remarkable career and has been written by persons who worked with Shridath Ramphal or have researched his many contributions to the Caribbean, the Commonwealth and the global community, and to internationalism. Shridath “Sonny” Ramphal grew up in Guyana in the colonial era to become the leading spokesman of the free, independent, developing world in the last quarter of the 20th century. For an unequalled stint of 15 years from 1975 to 1990), he was Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations. He served on a succession of international commissions, led by Willy Brandt, Gro-Harlem Brundtland, and Olof Palme and co-chaired one with Ingvar Carlsson.
Having been a key player in bringing an end to Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence and institutional racism in Southern Rhodesia, he spent much of his last five years as Secretary-General, until 1990, in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. He had the satisfaction of playing a part in Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in February 1990, and Namibia’s independence the following month.
Sonny left the Commonwealth Secretariat as a still youthful 61. He was Chancellor of the Universities of Guyana and Warwick, and the University of the West Indies, and he went on to chair the West Indian Commission which charted a future for the Caribbean region in the 21st century, and he headed the regional negotiating machinery which sought a unified Caribbean trading response to the European Community, the United States and the World Trade Organisation. At the age of 79, he successfully led Guyana’s legal team before a United Nations Law of the Sea Tribunal that peacefully settled the maritime boundary with Suriname.