The country’s longest-serving ambassador who died on Wednesday is to be laid to rest with an official funeral.
The service for Sir Ramez Hadeed will take place at the Holy Family Cathedral on Michael’s Mount on December 13 at 2pm.
The government said it wanted to honour his life and four decades of dedicated service to the nation.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chet Greene told Observer yesterday that the government remains committed to establishing a diplomatic academy in his honour.
“The recognition of Sir Ramez and the legacy issue of the academy is something that I, as Foreign Minister, and certainly this government would wish to continue to pursue – to mark and symbolise excellence on the part of an outstanding Antiguan and Barbudan citizen,” Greene said.
He explained that he hoped the facility would inspire young people to enter the field of diplomacy, “which is so important in global relations”.
The minister said he had been “truly saddened” to hear of Sir Ramez’ passing, adding that he had witnessed first-hand his “dedication, passion, and commitment to Antigua and Barbuda’s interests”.
Former Prime Minister and former Foreign Affairs Minister Baldwin Spencer, who worked with Sir Ramez for a decade, also paid tribute.
“It is true we may have had our differences of views on matters, be it with respect to politics, with respect to business, with respect to a number of things, but overall he was a patriotic son of Antigua and Barbuda and always wanted to see the best for this country,” Spencer said.
“Not only was he a businessman and an exemplary diplomat but he was a community-oriented individual.”
Sir Ramez entered the diplomatic arena after Independence in 1981, assuming the role of ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda to the Syrian Arab Republic, the Republic of Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates.
He worked under four different administrations, demonstrating a non-partisan approach to the country’s development.
In 2001, he was awarded the Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of the Nation (KCN) for his work in diplomacy. He was again knighted in 2022 as a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of the Nation, KGCN.
He has also been hailed for his efforts to improve the lives of ordinary Antiguans and Barbudans through his philanthropic and community development work.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Ramez Hadeed was one of the leading industrialists in Antigua and Barbuda, employing thousands of local people in the manufacturing, construction and financial industries.
A statement from the Prime Minister’s office described him as a “very generous soul” who helped many in times of need.