“He is one of those men who have become famous because, in their fight for human justice, they have chosen the whole world as their theatre”. Nelson Mandela, 1990
A Tribute to Rashleigh Jackson former Guyana Foreign Minister by Sir Shridath Ramphal
A mighty purple-heart has fallen in Guyana. Rashleigh Esmond Jackson, at 93, has turned in his Order of Roraima. He and I were born in New Amsterdam a year apart, and our Guyana lives have intertwined in the near century that has passed. Rashleigh, as we all know him, deserves of his country the honour only one’s own homeland can tender.
We were at Queen’s together where his mastery of mathematics was legendary; and after University abroad he came back to his alma matar to teach a new generation. But these were the days of nation building and in 1964 Rashleigh joined the public service where he remained for most of his working life. By 1966, and independence, I was Minister of State for External Affairs with Rashleigh as the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary. Together we built our fledgling Foreign Service that was to serve Guyana’s needs as a new micro State beset by existential threats. Few more than me can vouch for the quality of the Ministry’s service to Guyana under Rashleigh’s guidance: names like Rudy Collins, Anne Jardim, Miles Stoby come to mind – and there were others.
In 2005, Sir Shridath donated all his official papers, covering his service to the West Indies Federation, the Government of Guyana, the Commonwealth, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the international commissions on which he served and the international bodies which he chaired, to the Library of the Cave Hill, Barbados Campus of the University of the West Indies. While his published speeches, books and other documents are posted on this website, all the other papers, related to his work, are in the archives at Cave Hill. On this website, the full list of the papers, thus archived, is posted under the heading ‘Archives’.