The UWI mourns the passing of Sir Selvyn Walter

Sir Selvyn A Walter received the nation’s second highest award when he was conferred with Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of the Nation (KCN). (Photo by Gemma Hazelwood)
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The following is a press release from the University of the West Indies:

The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. Tuesday, September 22, 2020. — The passing of Sir Selvyn Walter represents a monumental loss of intellectual forte, cultural pride and patriotism for the nation of Antigua and Barbuda and The University of the West Indies (The UWI) community.

Sir Selvyn attended The UWI Mona Campus in the 60s and played a leading role in what at the time was an extremely successful debate team. He would regale his listeners with stories and lessons from the regional university, eternally proud to be a Pelican. Throughout his career and retirement, people continuously sought Sir Selvyn’s perspective on matters pertinent to local and regional issues.

Sir Selvyn was a renaissance man. His significant contributions to his country were immense and varied, spanning culture, commerce, history, music, the literary arts and politics. He was a prolific writer, chronicling culture, folklore, history and sports in books and series. His rivalled literary collections with his collection of artefacts, making his home a veritable museum. Sir Selvyn also built a solid reputation, starting early in life and continuing through his later years, as a newspaperman, lending his knowledge and expertise to nation building via the fourth estate. He was a teacher and motivator, generously sharing what he knew with anyone with whom he came in contact. In addition, he was an orator extraordinaire, whether he was speaking with politicians, captains of industry or keeping court with the customers to his bakery. He loved his country, he loved people and he loved to laugh.

On the political field, Sir Selvyn secured his place in history when as a young, first-time challenger he defeated a four-time and senior incumbent, Sir Vere C. Bird in the 1971 elections. He served as Minister of Economic Development and Tourism in the Progressive Labour Movement (PLM) administration.

Although he stopped journeying to the media company where he last worked circa 2014, Sir Selvyn continued to write and give guidance from home for a long time afterward. In 2013, on the Nation’s 32nd Anniversary of Independence, a knighthood was conferred upon him for his contributions to the country.

The UWI community extends heartfelt condolences to Sir Selvyn’s family, friends and colleagues.

Sir Alexander Bustamante (second left) with members of the Guild Council of The University of the West Indies, who were among his guests at the reception at Vale Royal for then Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr Eric Williams. From left: Selvyn Walter (president of the guild), Janice DeLeon (secretary), Las Lewis (first vice-president), Karl Wright (treasurer), and Gloria Lannaman (past president). (Photo courtesy Jamaica Gleaner)
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