Girvan, a true Caribbean man
By Miranda La Rose Friday, April 11 2014
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Professor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Norman Girvan, 72, who died in Cuba on Wednesday from injuries sustained in a fall during a hike in early January in Dominica, is being celebrated as an icon of Caribbean integration.
Girvan was medivaced from Dominica to TT where he was to recuperate to a stage well enough to undergo surgery in Cuba. The injuries he sustained had left him paralysed from his neck down. He was in Cuba just over two weeks when he died. His wife Jasmine and two children were with him in Cuba.
As an outstanding son of the region, “It is perhaps poetic that Norman, the Caribbean man who was born in Jamaica and lived in Trinidad, would sustain his injuries in Dominica and die in Cuba,” the Cropper Foundation yesterday said in a tribute.
The Cropper Foundation, the Institute of International Relations of the University of the West Indies, Caricom Community (Caricom) and Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) described Girvan as a “a true Caribbean man.”
Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque said Girvan’s “life’s work was underlined by unremitting dedication to a vision of an integrated Caribbean. His ideas and ideals placed him in the upper echelons of Caribbean intellectuals.”
LaRocque described his publication, Towards a Single Development Vision and the Role of the Single Economy, as a visionary document to guide the development of Caricom and a prime example of the commitment that Girvan had to his region.
According to IIR senior lecturer Dr Mark Kirton, Girvan was seen among his colleagues as an icon on regional integration which was reflected in his vision of an “El Gran Caribe” that will include the Dutch, French and Spanish-speaking Caribbean.
His most recent advocacy, Kirton said, was to reverse the Dominican Republic’s (DR) constitutional court ruling that stripped more than 210,000 Haitians born in the DR of their citizenship.
Paying tribute, the TTCSI said, “he was a very strong advocate on regional issues, particularly as it relates to perceived unfairness and injustice by multinational corporations and developed nations.”
Girvan will be remembered particularly for his role in the Caribbean Technologies Studies project, TTCSI said, “where he was a strong advocate for technology transfer for multinational corporations operating in developing countries.”
In another statement, the Cropper Foundation said Girvan was a founding member of the foundation and was its chairman for 13 years. The foundation described him as one of the Caribbean’s and world’s foremost intellectuals who loved the Caribbean’s people and environment beyond, and the region’s natural environment which he fought tirelessly to protect.
Meanwhile the IIR said it plans to hold a series of activities to celebrate the life of its former head.
According to the IIR Secretariat, the directorate is in discussions about what could be done to celebrate and honour Girvan’s significant contributions to the institute’s development.
UWI, Newsday understands, is also discussing ways to honour Girvan, who gave 40 years of service to the regional university at different times of his life.
He received his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the then University College of the West Indies and his PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics. He has published extensively on the political economy of development in the Caribbean and the Global South and is the recipient of several honours and awards.
Until his demise, he was a Professorial Research Fellow at the UWI Graduate Institute of International Relations and was based at the UWI, St Augustine.
• Professor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies.
• Professorial Research Fellow at the UWI Graduate Institute of International Relations.
• United Nations Secretary General’s Personal Representative on the Guyana-Venezuela Border Controversy (Appointed in 2010).
• Board Member (2002-2011) and Vice Chairman of the South Centre (2006-2011).
• Member of the United Nations Committee on Development Policy (since 2009).
• Former Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States.
• Professor of Development Studies and Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies UWI.
• Head of Jamaican Government’s National Planning Agency.