Former Prime Minister Dr Ptolemy Reid dies
Stabroek News
September 4, 2003

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Former Prime Minister Dr Ptolemy Reid has died at his Atlantic Gardens home aged 85.

He had suffered a stroke several weeks ago and had been hospitalised at the Suddie hospital for a number of days.

President Bharrat Jagdeo was among the members of the political fraternity yesterday who expressed their condolences to the family and relatives of Dr Ptolemy Alexander Reid OE, MRCVS, DVM who was also a Deputy Leader and General Secretary of the People’s National Congress (PNC).

He had passed away on Tuesday evening. He is survived by his son by his first wife Ruth, Dr Herman Reid. His second wife of just over five years and his childhood sweetheart, Marjorie predeceased him on May 25.

Following a memorial service on Saturday at the St George’s Cathedral, his body will be taken to Dartmouth, the village of his birth on the Essequibo Coast for viewing. It will be cremated on Sunday at the Union foreshore, Essequibo Coast, and the ashes buried in the compound of the Flora Nursery School. The plot of land on which the school stands was donated by Dr Reid’s mother.

At a press conference yesterday, President Jagdeo offered his deepest condolences to the leadership and members of the People’s National Congress.

A statement issued by the PNCR recalled Reid’s career as a teacher, veterinarian and politician. It said that after qualifying as veterinarian from the then Tuskegee Institute and returning to Guyana, Dr Reid was unable to find suitable employment and was forced to migrate to Canada. From Canada, the statement said, Dr Reid travelled to England in 1957 where he completed in record time the requirements for Membership of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and in 1958 returned to Guyana to work with Bookers Sugar Estates Limited.

Education Minister, Dr Henry Jeffrey, describing Dr Reid as a friend and a great son of Guyana, said that he had lived by the simple principle of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Trade, Tourism and Industry Minister, Manzoor Nadir, told Stabroek News that Dr Reid was one of the few persons who could be described as having lived for Guyana. “Dr Reid was a true Guyanese patriot who lived his life for Guyana. His example of living and dying for Guyana is testimony to his commitment to the country of his birth.”

Nadir noted too that Dr Reid remained in Guyana in the good times and bad, which Nadir said, increased his admiration for him and “places him high as one whose example ought to be emulated. He expressed his deepest sympathy on his own and family’s behalf as well as on behalf of The United Force to Dr Reid’s family.

Former Chief Political Adviser to LFS Burnham, Elvin McDavid described Dr Reid as a statesman and outstanding party activist. “His commitment to the development of Guyana through the Feed, Clothes and House (FCH) programme was unparalleled.”

He said what stood out in his memory was Dr Reid’s total loyalty to Burnham and Burnham’s loyalty to him in a way which their successors were unable to replicate.

McDavid explained that their loyalty to each other made possible the stable internal political management system, which characterised the Burnham administration.

Dr Reid joined the PNC in 1960 and was its unsuccessful candidate at the 1961 General Elections under the first-past-the-post system. He was again a candidate for the PNC at the 1964 elections and was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in the PNC/United Force coalition that assumed office after the elections.

He held the ministerial portfolios of Home Affairs, Finance and Agriculture and was appointed Prime Minister when the 1980 constitution came into force and LFS Burnham assumed the Office of President. He retired from the office of Prime Minister in 1984 and was appointed to the vacant position of Deputy Leader. His retirement paved the way for Desmond Hoyte to be appointed Prime Minister and to assume the presidency when Burnham died on August 6, 1985.

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