A medical practitioner who attained legendary status as Antigua and Barbuda’s Clinical Care Coordinator for HIV/AIDS has transitioned to the Great Beyond.
For several days before yesterday’s agonizing confirmation of his passing came from the multiple sources with whom we checked before breaking the news there had been word that Dr. Sir Prince Ramsey was gravely ill and did not appear likely to be with us much longer.
The sense of sadness about his passing has been pervasive and palpable: Dr. Ramsey touched countless lives in so many ways as a medical doctor, a philanthropist, and as a writer and producer of calypsos his cultural immersion and devotion undiminished by his mastery of and impassioned commitment to the exacting science of medicine and healthcare practice.
If he was different to or better than other doctors – a suggestion he himself would have likely rebuffed as a reflex of his defining modesty – it is because of the deeply soulful humanity and fully patient centered approach to healthcare and clinical practice that was such a natural outflow of his humble personality.
Upon his passing, the Ministry of Health, on its Facebook page, described Sir Prince as, “A prestigious son of the soil who has contributed significantly to health care in Antigua and Barbuda.”
In a statement, Prime Minister Gaston Browne extended “deepest sympathies and condolences” to Sir Prince’s “wife, Ava, and the entire Ramsey family on the loss which they have suffered”, noting that “the nation of Antigua and Barbuda has also suffered a great loss.”
PM Browne remarked further that, “Dr. Prince Ramsey was a superb physician who frequently delivered services to his patients at no cost. He was recognized as a very generous and thoughtful caregiver. Dr. Ramsey was also a servant of the calypso community; his contribution to the art-form was surpassed by no-one.”
Browne noted that the departed medic “was well loved by all and . . . lived a full life. His contribution to nation-building, to wellness, and to the development of the cultural life of Antigua and Barbuda are applauded by all.”
According to the nation’s Head of Government, his Cabinet has already decided “to afford Dr. Prince Ramsey an official funeral” in recognition of his “nation-building” work.
As a humanitarian, cultural and vocational prophet, Prince Ramsey was not with- out honor in his own country and far beyond its shores. The multitude of honors, awards and recognitions be- stowed upon him included an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the Open Campus of the University of the West Indies. Just last year he was awarded the 2018 United Nations Population Award, which recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to population and reproductive health solutions.
Service and not money was always his primary motivation; his sense of fulfilment and reward directed at how he could help and make a positive difference in the lives of those who looked to him for answers and effective interventions. Sir Prince was a volunteer medical officer, lecturer and examiner for the Red Cross and St. John’s Ambulance Society.
He was a past president of the Antigua and Barbuda Medical Association and former treasurer of the Caribbean College of Family Physicians. He was Vice President of the Antigua and Barbuda Planned Parent- hood Association; a board member of the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
He was the founder and chairman of the Friends of Fiennes Institute. He was the recipient of a Queen’s Commission as Major and Medical Officer of the Antigua & Barbuda De- fence Force and was an Honorable Member of the Association of Military Surgeons of the USA. Sir Prince was the recipient of three National awards: The Order of Merit, The Order of Distinction, and The Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of the Nation. The Pan-Caribbean Partner- ship against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) in 2012 bestowed him with “The Order of Excellence” for his contribution to HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean.
It will never be easy and always awkward to speak in the past tense about one who toiled so discernibly and tirelessly in the vineyard of humanity, for which he had no small heart. Enumerating the accolades that have deservedly been heaped upon this great and beloved man will never by itself do justice to the overall jewel of a person that he was.
Godspeed and Rest in Peace, Dr. Sir Prince Ramsey.