Lloyd Searwar was born on the 28th July, 1925. He graduated from Modern High School under the tutelage of Clement Yansen and Edward Burrowes and was admitted as a Class 11 Clerk in the General Register Office in 1944.
Lloyd Searwar transferred to the Bureau of Public Information (BPI) - the forerunner of the Government Information Service (GIS) - when the British Government mounted a large-scale information thrust throughout its Empire. The colonies had started to become restive after the Second World War, and Britain was to try to pre-empt the incipient nationalist movements which had sprung up in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
Searwar was granted a British Council bursary to attend Oxford University in 1951-52 to read for the Diploma in Politics and Economics. On his return, he became part of a team of pioneers in public information which included Carlotta Croal, Celeste Dolphin, Victor Forsythe, Lorna McArthur and Arthur Seymour. In an age where the radio was not only a novelty but the main means of mass communication, the cultural value of the team's work cannot be overstated. The team conducted unique research and broadcasting on Guyanese history and folklore, especially in rural coastal communities, in addition to its other information work.
Searwar remained at the GIS long enough to become Chef Information Officer but left in 1966 on transfer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (then known as the Ministry of External Affairs).
Searwar introduced publications such as Guytel and Guygram to keep the overseas missions informed. One of his important initiatives was the publication of the Guyana Journal, still a valuable source of information for scholars on Guyana's foreign policy and inter-national relations.
Searwar's interest in international relations was deepened by his attendance on a UK Government scholarship at the University of Sussex (1970-71) where he gained his MA in International Relations. In the Foreign Ministry, he rose to the rank of Ambassador and travelled as a member of numerous official delegations.
As a member of a distinguished team of diplomats - led by Shridath Ramphal, and including Denis Benn, Rudy Collins, Rudy Insanally, Rashleigh Jackson, James Matheson, Duke Pollard, Barton Scotland, and Noel Sinclair - he participated in several annual meetings of the United Nations General Assembly and other UN agencies, and of international organisations of developing countries such as the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government.
The decade of the 1970s was the most exciting era of Guyana's diplomacy. A principal architect in fashioning the Caribbean Community out of the Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA), Guyana also helped to revive the Non-Aligned Movement, and to build consensus for the formation of the African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) group of states. These were the years when Guyana came to be respected as one of the top ten developing countries in diplomatic affairs.
Searwar was appointed by the United Nations Department of Technical Cooperation for Development as Director of the UN/APEC Secretariat which had been established jointly by the United Nations and Non-Aligned Movement to promote economic cooperation among developing countries. He then moved to the CARICOM Secretariat where he served six years (1980-86) as Foreign Affairs Adviser.
Searwar's grounding in international relations also led him through the 'Groves of Academe'. He was appointed a Visiting Fellow on a Ford Foundation Fellowship at the Institute of International Relations (IIR) of the University of the West Indies (UWI) at St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, and Co-ordinator of the Post-Graduate Diploma in International Studies of the University of Guyana (UG). Later, he would be the first Director of the Foreign Service Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1998-2001).
His wide range of interests is indicated by titles such as, "The Security of Small States"; "Foreign Policy Decision-Making in the Commonwealth Caribbean"; "Westminster in the Sun"; "Non-Aligned in the Nineties"; "The Superpowers and Conflict in the Caribbean Basin"; and, "Notes towards the Definition of a New Diplomacy for Survival".
He was one of the three founders of the Theatre Guild (the others being Arthur Hemstock and Bertie Martin) and its first chairman. His library, of which he is proud, is mentioned in the tributes that follow, as well as his interest in literature.
Lloyd Searwar was 80 last year. He can look back on a long life of dedicated public service, one of the last of a distinguished generation.
He played a key role in Guyana's special relationship with Non Alignment
- Sir Shridath 'Sonny' Ramphal
Eighty years already! That means for me over half a century of personal friendship and of working together- most of the time in another time altogether. And that I suppose is the first point to make: that we are both of this time; but of another also. The beginnings of that other time go back to the early fifties- Lloyd is after all only three years older than me.
We were contemporaries in those early years as Guyana turned the corner away from colonialism towards political control of our own destiny- though for too long the journey was anything but controlled. They were wayward, turbulent, uncertain years. For all who were part of those years- and we are becoming fewer now- they were years through which none could drift. As Martin Carter, who was of that time too, wrote so truly in his Poems of Resistance: 'all are involved! all are consumed!' But the forms of 'resistance' were as varied as conceptions of what there was in totality to resist; and for many thoughtful Guyanese there was no refuge in the dogmatisms on offer.
Lloyd Searwar was one of these; he still is. And I suppose it is in this refusal to be trapped within narrow walls of ideology, of ethnicity, of religion even, that marked him out over the years as a special resource in our all too tribal society. Of course that freedom comes at a price; it marks you out also as a non-conformist- and there is always someone who resents that. But, for Lloyd Searwar, that was a calculus he understood as being elemental in the market-place of ideas which was his comfort zone.
In this sense, he was a product of the same century old society that produced in Guyana the likes of A.R.F. Webber, of Peter Ruhoman, of Edgar Mittleholtzer- and like them, beyond basics, he was essentially self-taught. It is no exaggeration to say that in his time Lloyd Searwar is perhaps the most widely read Guyanese; nor is it hyperbole to assert that his is the largest and choicest private collection of books in the country. He is proud of his library; but not as a mere collector is proud. Lloyd has read them all. Many a time over the last thirty years, when normal bibliographic resources fail me, I have called Lloyd from London to check in his Crown Street Library sources I dimly remember- and not only Guyanese materials. Not surprisingly, when Lloyd first went to University it was as a mature student to do a Masters Degree in International Relations at Sussex- and to produce a Dissertation on Foreign Policy Planning that still finds a place on Sussex shelves that house Ph.D Theses.
But Lloyd did not begin with international affairs; his first 'training' was in radio. I have had a few publications over the years, but my very first is a little booklet in the early fifties called The Law in Everyday Life. Lloyd Searwar, then at the GIS, persuaded me to do a series of radio broadcasts relating the law to everyday events in people's lives-which the GIS then published, complementing the series done by Frank Williams on Medicine in Everyday Life. That was to be the beginning of years of collaboration over publications- mainly during my ten years at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 1965 and 1975- publications written mainly by Lloyd. I think particularly of The Guyana Journal, the Official Organ of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was Lloyd's creation and the product of his labours- and which remains, for the years it was produced, a priceless record of Guyana's international relations. He has a great sense of the historical value of the contemporary record.
I cannot end this reminiscence without saying a word about Lloyd Searwar's role in Guyana's special relationship with 'Non-Alignment.' Non-Alignment was the bedrock of Guyana's initial foreign policy- a story well illustrated in Lloyd's contribution to the special issue of Kaie in tribute to Forbes Burnham (Kaie, No. 18 Nov. 1985). Lloyd was our intellectual guru on non-alignment in those days when it was still a significant factor in global politics. His role in the Meeting of Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers which Guyana hosted in 1972 was absolutely crucial to its success.
The Meeting itself was a political triumph for Guyana and the Non-Aligned Movement; but over and above these successes was the substantive contributions it made to Non-Alignment itself in the process of transition from its formative Cold War years and their inevitable political pre-occupations. That was mainly attributable to the preparatory work that Guyana had organised in the form of the Meeting of Third World Economic Experts that for the first time preceded the Ministerial Conference.
It was that preparatory work, chaired by Alister McIntyre, in which economists from Tito's Yugoslavia, Indira Ghandi's India, Nyerere's Tanzania joined Caribbean professionals and other Third World scholars, that led to the Conference's Georgetown Declaration for Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries- and in turn to the ECDC Agenda of the South. It is poignant to recall that India's economist at that Meeting- Dr Manmohan Singh- is now India's Prime Minister. Many, therefore, contributed to these outcomes; but Lloyd Searwar's role as our bridge to the Movement's intellectual traditions was special and invaluable. It was a service he rendered beyond Guyana. I am glad to have an opportunity to acknowledge it.
One final acknowledgement- our collective gratitude to Francine for her unique role in sustaining Lloyd by her love and caring that we might have this chance of celebrating with them and the larger Searwar family these four score years of a unique Guyana life.
He has been a respected adviser to Caricom since 1980
- Caricom Secretary General Edwin Carrington
My staff and I take great pleasure in joining with the Stabroek News and others to salute Lloyd Searwar AA who has passed his Eighty Year milestone. This initiative is highly appreciated, all the more so as we at the Secretariat hold Lloyd Searwar in high esteem not only as a result of his outstanding intellectual and analytical ability in the domain of international relations, but also his incomparable warmth of spirit.
Lloyd Searwar's relationship with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, direct and indirect, has been quite lengthy. He joined the staff of the Secretariat on 8 July 1980. His departure from the CARICOM Secretariat in July of 1986 was however not the end of his partnership with the Secretariat. In 1987, Lloyd Searwar served as Diplomat-in-Residence at the First CARICOM Training Seminar for Middle-level Diplomats held in Trinidad and Tobago in 1987. This Seminar attracted representation from across the Region as the Community sought to continue to develop a cadre of highly skilled regional diplomats. So highly was Lloyd Searwar thought of and admired by the diplomats and coordinators of that Seminar, he was constantly requested to assist in later exercises of similar nature where he concentrated his efforts on sharing his knowledge of the United Nations, the Group of 77 and the Non-Aligned Movement, his areas of proven interest and expertise.
Not surprisingly, retirement has not diminished the prodigious intellectual productivity of Lloyd Searwar. On the contrary! The Secretariat has continued to benefit from consultations with him on issues related to foreign policy and international relations. His most recent contribution was his "Notes on The Global Security Agenda and its implications for the Foreign Policies of CARICOM Member States" prepared for the consideration of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) in 2004. This area of longstanding interest to Lloyd Searwar has now become a priority issue for small states in this age of international terror. It must be added however that his view of security has always taken into account its multidimensional scope - a concept which is now being promoted in the Inter-American system and since January 2005 embraced by all Small Island Developing States at their meeting in Mauritius.
A number of my staff have come to know Lloyd Searwar well over the years and have welcomed his readiness to share his experience and knowledge without hesitation. They have confessed that sometimes their numerous queries may be bothersome. But he has always been gracious and helpful. Who else can recall the decisions taken by the Community on so many issues during the years that Lloyd Searwar was intimately involved in the early development of the coordination of the foreign policies of Member States of the Region! For Lloyd Searwar was the first Foreign Affairs Officer at the Secretariat. He it was who prepared briefs and proposed recommendations on issues ranging from the security of small states to a new diplomacy for survival, both issues on which he has published, the latter in the Souvenir Issue of the CARICOM Perspective, June 1985.
Some of the issues covered by the Region's Foreign Ministers as they sought to coordinate the foreign policies of their separate states in those early years demonstrate the range of themes on which Lloyd Searwar was called upon to prepare briefs and make recommendations for the Region's consideration. They include: the coordination of the Region's position on mercenaries and terrorism (1980); Facilitation of travel within the Region (1980); Further Consideration of Haiti's Application for Membership of the Caribbean Community (1980); Relations with Latin America; the Middle East; Southern Africa (1980); Mechanisms for coordination of foreign policies including Observer Status for CARICOM at the United Nations (1980); the Preservation of the CARICOM relationship and an examination of the effects in CARICOM of Global Trends and Movements such as ideological pluralism, non-alignment etc (1980); The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belize (1980); Peace and Security in the Region (1982); Widening of the Caribbean Community (1982); Relations with Third countries (the USA, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico) (1982); Regional Cooperation in Maritime Matters (1982); Relations with the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Suriname (1985); the Andean Group (1985); ECLAC/CDCC (1985); Apartheid in Sport (1985); Security of Small States (1985); CARICOM in International Organizations (1985); Diplomatic Training for Foreign Service Officers of CARICOM Member States (1985).
The sampling above gives an idea of the range of issues on which Lloyd Searwar worked and exemplifies his contribution to the Region's foreign policy development. His continuing interest and activity in the area of international relations is reflected in the many editorial contributions which he has provided through the medium of the Stabroek News.
Sometimes my staff are notified of a pending editorial. Sometimes the tables are turned and instead of soliciting information from Lloyd Searwar, my staff responds to his requests for information. His analysis is however always his.
Lloyd Searwar, living legend, my staff and I take pleasure in paying this small tribute to you and in saluting you in recognition of your outstanding contribution to Guyana and the Region in the field of diplomacy and international relations as we celebrate the completion of your eighty year milestone. May you live to see many more and may you continue to share your knowledge and experience with those who have not et attained those heights.
An outstanding intellectual and diplomatist
- Foreign Affairs Minister Rudy Insanally
A devout Catholic, bibliophile and foreign policy expert, he has spoken and written widely on many issues of interest and concern to our contemporary society.
His deep religious conviction led him not only to mass every day but to a Jesuitical passion for books and all things academic. He was reputed - at least up to the great flood early this year - to have one of the finest libraries in Georgetown. His love of learning and encyclopedic knowledge were his greatest strengths. Yet, he was neither pompous nor prolix in his style of writing; each word of his was forged with thoughtful precision.
After an early foray into the field of information, where he made his mark as a writer and thinker, he ventured into foreign policy and diplomacy, new vistas that were opened up by Guyana's independence in 1966. His solid formation soon made him one of the brightest and best of the new nation's Foreign Service officers.
As I recall, his major interest was in non-alignment, a subject area in which he developed a notable expertise, best exemplified by the role which he played at the Conference of Foreign Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement hosted by Guyana in 1972. He also devoted much time and study to the vulnerabilities of small states. When later in his career he became Director of the Institute of Foreign Affairs, his vast knowledge and experience were fortunately passed on to a new generation of aspiring Diplomats.
Of sharp and sometimes acerbic temperament, Lloyd Searwar uses language effectively to display the truth of his observations and his wry humour. His conversations were always full of sparkling wit. It is not surprising that over the years, he has acquired quite a large coterie of friends and admirers both at home and abroad.
He served Guyana admirably in the domain of foreign service
- Former Foreign Minister Rashleigh Jackson
I knew of Lloyd Searwar before I knew him. He was an icon in the world of information. He had a reputation as a knowledgeable person, one who read widely, was deeply interested in the arts, and was a devout Catholic.
It was however during our many years together promoting Guyana's interest in the international affairs area that I got to know Lloyd Searwar and to appreciate his considerable talents. When he joined the Ministry of External Affairs (as it was then known), his assignment at first was in the Information field. One of Lloyd's early achievements was the launching of the Guyana Journal which he edited, and which put on record Guyana's role on the international stage. It was a Journal that was much sought after. It attracted the interest of many persons - students, researchers, journalists - and institutions, especially universities and other centres of learning.
A second major contribution related to the indigenisation of regional news disseminated in the Caricom region. It was a Guyana initiative in the councils of Caricom that led to the establishment of CANA. Lloyd produced the draft which formed the basis of a paper presented by Guyana.
It did not take long for Lloyd's interests in other dimensions of international relations to be expressed and his capacity to contribute to foreign policy articulation and implementation manifested. On non-alignment, Lloyd became one of several Guyanese officials whose views, ideas and opinions were respected and sought after in non-aligned councils and other circles. At first, Lloyd seemed to have had a difficulty with the concept of non-alignment. He did not see it as a policy. Over time, however, he became a sound analyst and a worthy exponent of non-alignment. It was his skill at drafting, with an eye for achieving consensus that marked Lloyd's first important cluster of contributions to Guyana's efforts to advance the cause of non-alignment. In 1972 a signal honour was bestowed on Guyana when it was selected as the venue for a Conference of Foreign Ministers of Non-aligned countries. In preparation for that Conference, Lloyd produced a booklet, "The Thrust of Non-alignment" for the information of, and use by, delegates , media practitioners and other interested persons. In addition, with the assistance of officials from some non-aligned countries, Lloyd prepared a Draft Declaration which was used as a basis for arriving at conference conclusions.
Lloyd was elected Secretary-General of the Conference and did a remarkable job. He was also deeply involved in the implementation of some of the Conference decisions. I will deal with two of them, both relating to the question of economic co-operation among developing countries (ECDC). The Conference agreed on certain concrete steps to promote ECDC in the spirit of self-reliance. Included among them was the assignment to some countries of responsibility for advancing co-operation in specific areas. Guyana was given responsibility for the Trade, Industry and Transport sectors. In this respect, Lloyd Searwar and Denis Benn initiated the establishment in George-town of a technical Secretariat which assisted in the implementation of the project which they supervised.
Lloyd was also the point man in Guyana's efforts for the adoption by the United Nations of a resolution on the promotion of ECDC, an objective that was achieved and widely acclaimed. ECDC was thus recognised as a significant goal of the international community in its broad objective of fostering international economic co-operation.
Lloyd's talents and ideas were employed in other areas of activity of Guyana's foreign policy covering bilateral and multilateral relations and policy planning and analysis. In particular, he was a tour de force at internal Ministry collegiate consultations and at annual Heads of Mission Conferences. On those occasions, Guyana's foreign policy performance was analysed and recommendations made for future foreign policy orientation and initiatives, usually after intense discussions, which were intellectually stimulating.
Although Lloyd never served in an overseas Mission, he represented Guyana at multilateral Conferences - Caricom and the Non-Aligned Movement, for example; and he was a member of Guyana delegations to sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
I saw Lloyd at work from three vantage points - as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Permanent Representative of Guyana to the United Nations, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was an avid reader possessing a seemingly insatiable appetite for the published word. Lloyd was always willing, indeed eager, to trade ideas and to share apercus. He was a dedicated officer who was never sparing in his energy to accomplish a task.
Lloyd had a keen eye for talent in young officers and nurtured it when he spotted it. He was however emphatically intolerant of sloppy work.
Lloyd was not devoid of foibles. Some of his peers detected in him a conspiratorial proclivity and claimed to have seen it in action. His foibles not-withstanding, Lloyd was widely respected for his competence and for his bonhomie. He served Guyana admirably in the foreign affairs domain.
A widely read Man of Letters
- Dr Ian Mc Donald
I am pretty confident in saying that Lloyd Searwar has read more widely and deeply than anyone I have ever known. At any rate he is an old friend who in the decades since I first met him has not once failed to regale and enlighten me in our conversations through his command of knowledge which I continually find extraordinary, fascinating and often useful in my own work and writing. The knowledge frequently concerns world affairs and regional developments and Lloyd keeps this knowledge clear, precisely measured and up to date in a mind which at eighty is as bright as it ever was at forty and, if anything, now more amply furnished.
Lloyd is best known as a profound scholar of Caribbean and world affairs but he is considerably more than that. In my conversations with him I have found him as likely to comment with self-assured pleasure on matters of philosophy, religion, history or literature as on political trends and diplomatic developments in the region and further afield. One such extra-curricular conversation must stand for the scores I have enjoyed with him over the years. I happened to mention I had read an article about Hans Kung, the controversial Swiss Roman Catholic theologian, and thereupon was treated to a fascinating recital of a range of concepts and spiritual conundrums which Lloyd had found contained in Hans Kung's writings and in particular his great work Does God Exist? which Lloyd had read, or perhaps re-read, not long before. This sort of conversation happened much too often to be showing-off. Lloyd is comfortable in his erudition.
Lloyd maintains a close interest in literature. During visits to London early in his career he met and conversed with T.S. Eliot and other distinguished writers and he was well aware from the start of the importance of Henry Swanzy's BBC Caribbean Voices programme in unearthing and encouraging West Indian writing talent. When, in 1984, I revived Kyk-Over-Al as joint editor with the founder of Kyk, Arthur Seymour, and as I continued editing the magazine after Arthur's death in 1989, Lloyd was an enthusiastic supporter of the renewed venture. I could depend on him for encouragement and also for story after story about Kyk and its contributors in its original, and seminal, incarnation in the period 1945-1961.
When the idea emerged of producing an anthology of Indo-Guyanese prose and poetry, Lloyd, Laxhmie Kallicharan, Joel Benjamin and myself were given the job of choosing the material. We often used to meet on the veranda of Lloyd's home to sift our findings and exchange views and Lloyd's contribution, informed by his extraordinarily wide knowledge of the original sources and authors, was absolutely vital. To this day I believe that this Anthology, They Came in Ships, edited by Jeremy Poynting and eventually published in 1998 by the Peepal Tree Press, remains one of the best and most interesting of all Guyanese collections.
My most vivid memory of Lloyd wearing his magisterial literary hat is at the launching in Guyana of A.J. Seymour's Collected Poems, 1937-1989, jointly edited by Jacqueline de Weever and myself. I was responsible for making the arrangements for the launching at Castellani House in January 2001. In fixing the programme I had no trouble in identifying Lloyd as the right person to give the feature address. A difficulty arose which surprised me. Apparently some members of AJS's family were doubtful that Lloyd was the best person to give the address since it was felt he had succeeded AJS as Chief Information Officer in the Government service under unfortunate circumstances. I dismissed such reservations and Lloyd, as I fully expected, proceeded to deliver a magnificent, detailed and wonderfully perceptive tribute to Kyk-Over-Al, Arthur's poetry, Arthur himself and the immense, wide-ranging and indispensable cultural contribution of AJS to Guyana and the Caribbean. It was a memorable address, Lloyd at his best. What gave me special satisfaction was that all the members of AJS's family who were present expressed heartfelt appreciation for an address which could not have been bettered.
A reminder of a time when there was pride in public service
- David de Caires
I have known Lloyd Searwar for over 50 years but I got to know him well in the last twenty. For many years Lloyd, Martin Carter, Miles Fitzpatrick, Ian McDonald and I used to have dinner fairly regularly at each other's homes. His company was always stimulating and he enjoyed a glass or two of whisky. I have fond memories of those evenings.
In the year 2001, I asked Lloyd if he would be willing to write a weekly editorial for the Stabroek News. He agreed and since that time his Wednesday editorials, primarily on regional and international affairs, have set a standard for the newspaper and have been much appreciated here and further afield. I remember Mr Clinton Urling, a young entrepreneur, writing to invite me to give talks at the University of Guyana on international affairs, largely no doubt on the strength of those editorials. I had to point out that I was not the author. It is my hope to publish a selection in book form at some time.
Lloyd is a practising Catholic familiar with church doctrine and the proceedings of the Second Vatican Council in the sixties. But though an upholder of doctrine he has an open mind. I remember lending him a book by a progressive Catholic which painted an entirely irreverent and iconoclastic view of the historical papacy which he enjoyed. As in other matters, he was prepared to discuss a topic dispassionately and invariably had something worthwhile to contribute. Father Harold Wong recalls him being a founder member of a discussion group at the Catholic Centre in Brickdam, which met every month to discuss Catholic topics. This group was later taken over by Fr. Michael Campbell Johnson.
Lloyd has come out of a tradition of public service to which there is no obvious modern counterpart in Guyana. He gave his energies unstintingly to the government of the day. One recalls other civil servants of high quality in the fifties and sixties. A particular probate clerk springs to mind who was perfectly willing and able when the need arose to discuss technical points of law in Tristram and Coote's, the probate practitioners' bible. His example clearly shows, too, that men and women can continue to perform and make significant contributions well past traditional retirement ages.
Lloyd Searwar stands as a reminder of a time when there was a pride in service and in the quality of one's work.
In depth knowledge of international affairs
- Bryn Pollard
Lloyd Searwar, a few months ago, joined the ranks of octogenarians. It is, therefore, fitting that tribute should be paid to Lloyd for his sterling contribution in national issues and in those issues affecting the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
For many years, Lloyd made his contributions in the public service in the information service of which he became the head as Chief Information Officer. Lloyd later joined that band of talented and dedicated Guyanese on whose shoulders fell the responsibility of developing a respected Foreign Service for Guyana. Particular mention must be made of Lloyd's invaluable contribution to the establishment of the Foreign Service Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conceived as a facility for the recruitment and orientation of prospective Guyanese diplomatic representatives.
It is well known that Lloyd is widely read and his personal library provides some evidence of his interests. With his experience in the Foreign Service of Guyana and his knowledge of issues relating to Caribbean regional integration it was not surprising that Lloyd became the first Foreign Affairs Officer in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, playing a pivotal role in the functioning of the former Standing Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caribbean Community. Lloyd's wide and in-depth knowledge of regional and international affairs was highly appreciated by the Foreign Ministers of Member States of the Community. His knowledge and expertise were sought after and made available on request under the auspices of the Commonwealth Secretariat in the Councils of the Commonwealth.
Lloyd willingly shares his knowledge with others and, despite the advancing years, it is indeed quite remarkable how he can direct one's attention to the latest publications on matters of topical interest, both national and international. His mind and intellect remain sharp and his comments relevant and incisive.
Thinker and teacher
- David Granger
It was no surprise that Lloyd Searwar was appointed the first Director of the Foreign Service Institute when it was established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1998. At that time, he was one of the most experienced, best educated and fittest persons to teach and to train Guyana's young foreign service officers in the skills of statecraft and the science of international relations.
Lloyd Searwar had turned to teaching late in life but with a rich record of practice and service in international relations. He brought into the classroom the knowledge that had been accumulated and perceptions that he had gleaned for over three decades in the field.
As a thinker, he thought critically about the issues of security and statecraft in the international community, having served as a member of the prestigious Common-wealth Group of Experts which published the report, The North-South Dialogue: Making It Work (1982), and of the Commonwealth Consultative Group that published the report Vulnerability: Small States in the Global Society (1985). And, to his credit, he has a long list of individual publications such as, "The Security of Small States"; "Foreign Policy Decision-Making in the Commonwealth Caribbean"; "Westminster in the Sun"; "Non-Alignment in the Nineties"; "The Superpowers and Conflict in the Caribbean Basin"; and, "Notes towards the Definition of a New Diplomacy for Survival", as chapters of books and essays and articles in journals.
As a teacher, Searwar's academic interest in international relations had been fortified by his attendance at the University of Oxford to read for the Diploma in Politics and Economics and at the University of Sussex where he gained his MA in International Relations. He had also been a visiting fellow on a Ford Foundation Fellowship at the Institute of International Relations of the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, and lecturer and coordinator of the Post-Graduate Diploma in International Studies of the University of Guyana.
In the Foreign Ministry where he rose to the rank of Ambassador, he had travelled as a member of official delegations, participating in meetings of the United Nations General Assembly and other UN agencies; and of international organisations such as the Non-Aligned Movement; the Group of 77; the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); and the African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) group of states.
His retirement in 1979 was anything but that. He was appointed by the United Nations Department of Technical Cooperation for Development (UNTCD) as Director of the UN-APEC Secretariat which had been established jointly by the United Nations and Non-Aligned Movement to promote economic cooperation among developing countries and as Foreign Affairs Adviser at the CARICOM Secretariat.
Through what he thought about and how he taught this subject of international relations, Lloyd Searwar greatly enriched the education of his students and the service of a generation of Guyanese diplomats.
His home was a comfortable place for the exchange of ideas
- Ronald Austin
The Foreign Ministry was once one of the premier institutions of the State. This was particularly so when I joined it in 1973.
Buoyed by the momentum of hosting one of the most successful Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers meetings in the Western Hemisphere, it was humming with activities and ideas. At its apex was a brilliant Foreign Minister named Shridath Surendranath Ramphal. Supporting him was a galaxy of the most talented men in Foreign Policy that I have ever known.
There was Rudy Collins, the young Permanent Secretary and probably the wisest Administrator I have ever known; Rashleigh Jackson was at the UN but vital to the operations of the Ministry; Cedric Joseph was already showing signs of the quality diplomat he was to become; Lionel Samuels was also there and always spoiling for an intellectual debate; Pat Brummel ensured that the engine of the Ministry was always finely tuned;Elsa Mansell, as Head of the Protocol Division, was a model of grace and discrimination; Patty Fung-On was both guardian of the Foreign Minister and a brilliant bureaucrat. And there was Lloyd Searwar radiating ideas from the attic of the Ministry.
It was my good fortune to work with Lloyd Searwar from the moment I joined the Foreign Service. At this time he was a mature individual, of good girth, a wonderful sense of humour. He had already had considerable experience in the Public Service in the field of Information and this was now joined to a deep and abiding interest in Foreign Policy. My learning curve was rapid. From him I learned to master the art of drafting diplomatic documents. He was very good at this and in fact whatever little skill I have in this area I learnt mostly from him and other diplomats such as Rashleigh Jackson, Rudy Collins and Shridath Ramphal himself. I have seen Lloyd Searwar literally conceive and write the booklet "The Thrust of Non-Alignment" in less than an hour.
In working with him, I found out how close he was to Mr. Ramphal. I do not know the origin of their friendship but by the time I joined the Foreign Ministry it was a close and productive one. Lloyd Searwar, as a result of his vast reading, would produce a document based on an idea and then persuade Ramphal of its value. This he did on the question of "Preventive Diplomacy". In a sense he was a confidant of Ramphal and one of the many people of the Ministry who could provide ideas and insights to inform the work of the Ministry. I must confess that I benefited from this interesting relationship.
I had hardly joined the Ministry when Lloyd Searwar proposed and Sonny Ramphal accepted that I should be a member of the Guyana delegation to the Fourth Conference of the Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned nations in Algiers in 1973. Attending that summit was a rich and incommensurable experience. I translated for Minister Ramphal when he met Prince Sihanouk. One day while Lloyd Searwar and I were wandering around the Conference Centre we ran directly into Madam Binh; at the time she was one of the negotiators for the Viet Cong at the height of the Vietnam War. She was poised and beautiful. Maybe for the first time in his life words deserted Lloyd Searwar when this lady greeted both of us. After the Algiers Summit Lloyd Searwar would be instrumental in persuading Sonny Ramphal to have me be a part of the Guyana delegation to the United Nations. It was a significant step in my diplomatic career.
But Lloyd Searwar was not about diplomacy and the exploration of ideas. He was very human. This man of Catholic persuasion would always encourage and support the brightest talents in the Ministry. His home was a comfortable place where most of us would repair for refreshment and discussion. And it was then that I realised what a tower of strength his wife Francine was in his life. One also could not visit Searwar's house without becoming aware of the massive library of books and records he possesses. Even though it was a difficult exercise, I have managed to borrow a few volumes from this library.
Lloyd Searwar retired from the Foreign Service, if my memory serves me right, sometime in the late 70s. But my friendship and association with him continued. I could still call on him for assistance in drafting speeches or for an idea which could transform and improve a speech or a document. In fact our friendship has continued to this day.
Lloyd Searwar like any other individual I had known has his foibles and weaknesses. But these pale into insignificance beside his great talents, wonderful generosity and highly forgiving nature. I am glad that I have known him.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was then a place of constant activity
- Barton Scotland
"Are you Mr. Lloyd Searwar?"
"Yes, I am." Who are you?"
"I am a Guyanese and my name is Barton Scotland".
I had heard the voice of Lloyd Searwar on the radio in Guyana, had seen photographs of him in the newspapers as Chief Information Officer and after hearing the voice which had made the intervention and seeing the speaker, I was reasonably certain that I was speaking to Mr. Lloyd Searwar.
The year was 1970 and the scene was Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, London. The occasion was a Seminar sponsored by the America Society of International Law at Chatham House entitled "Anglo American International Law." I was undertaking research for a PHD in International Law at the Univer-sity of London and Lloyd was Reading for a Master's Degree in International Relations in Foreign Policy Planning at the University of Sussex.
That was the beginning of a wonderful friendship which after more than three decades, remains an enduring one. That friendship cannot be spoken of without mentioning Francina his wife whose generosity, never-ending kindness and thoughtfulness over the years have been almost like second nature. There were visits to their Apartment at the University of Sussex and dinners in Gerard Street (Chinatown) in London, all within a short period of time. When I returned to Guyana, about two years later, Lloyd and Francina, in their home then in Waterloo Street, offered a ready welcome to their friend. When shortly thereafter I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there began for me, thanks to Lloyd, my awakening to the International Relations realities which impact upon and shape and mould so much of International Law.
In our endless discussions on International Relations questions, Lloyd was to encourage, tease and challenge me to travel with him in a sometimes different, sometimes higher plane. And always there was something left for another day's discussion.
In our discussions in those early years, Lloyd was beginning to sense some change in the practice of the International Community, towards certain Principles of the United Nations Charter, in particular, the Principles of Sovereignty and non-interference in the International Affairs of States. Both of these Charter principles have experienced such profound transformation in practice over the last decade that surely Lloyd's sense of things then could not have been misplaced.
Lloyd's achievements in the field of Broadcasting, today he would be referred to as a Media Practitioner, paled in comparison to his achievements in the area of International Relations when he went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on his return from England.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was at that time a place of constant activity and new, eager and enthusiastic recruits were attracted to the staff. Ron Austin, Dennis Benn, Brian Moore, Jimmy Matheson and Tyrone Ferguson, Timothy Critchlow all came in a wave in a matter of two or three years. Here were young minds to be moulded and Austin, Benn, Matheson and Scotland became, because of the particular areas of our work, the clay to Lloyd's potter. Discussion and discussion, issues and ideas, more issues, more ideas all formed the staple of contact with Lloyd, always causing us to return for more and then to meet and discuss among ourselves.
It was the heyday of the Non Aligned Move-ment and Guyana was a substantial presence in that Movement. Sonny Ramphal as Foreign Minister, Rashleigh Jackson as Guyana's Permanent Representa-tive to the United Nations and Lloyd Searwar as the "strategist" at Headquarters were a formidable team in the cause of Non Alignment.
The Action Programme for Economic Co-operation among Developing Countries (APEC Programme) was a Non Aligned Construct for Co-operation among Developing Countries. Lloyd, as Director, led this programme in Guyana with great vigour and thereby demonstrated the strengths and virtues of South-South Co-operation.
In the fight for The New International Economic Order in which the Non Aligned Movement and the Group of 77 joined forces, Lloyd was among those who led the way and then with Denis Benn formed a team which kept Guyana's flag flying high in those deliberations.
Years later after Lloyd had left the Ministry for the first time, he became the Foreign Service Officer at Caricom. In those days he felt that the post, to fully serve Caricom's needs, should be re-designed. It must have been satisfying for him later on to learn that that position was completely changed and given greater meaning in Caricom Councils.
After Caricom, there was the University of Guyana to teach International Relations. On many occasions Lloyd conducted his Seminars on his verandah in Crown Street. In between sitting on International Commissions and Study Groups, Lloyd undertook many International Consultancies.
Always, on his return from one of his forays abroad there would be two or three new books. One would sometimes be pointed out to me with the suggestion that I read and return.
After leaving the University, Lloyd accepted an invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to return and to assist in the establishment of the Foreign Service Institute of which he later became the Director.
In his early years Lloyd was what was then known as a Civil Servant and after speaking with him for a short while one will conclude that he is the repository of much knowledge, as it relates to the early Colonial Civil Service in British Guiana. It is my only failure in our friendship that I have been so far, unsuccessful in persuading my friend to record his recollections and impressions of that time and of his service then.
With Lloyd and Francina our friendship was an all-embracing thing. Close members of my family soon became independent visitors to their home in Crown Street. Such is the nature of our abiding friendship.
On his eightieth birthday, Bryn Pollard and I joined Fran and the other members of his Family in saying "Happy Birthday".
Through this medium I salute you again my Friend.
As you open the newspapers today Lloyd, this is one occasion when you will be truly surprised.
Saturday, Jan. 21, 2005
Saturday, Jan. 21, 2005