Apr 10, 2016 News
…He will be remembered for his humility, compassion– Foreign Affairs Minister
Modesty, compassion and love for country are some of the priceless qualities for which Clyde
R. Roopchand will be remembered.
This sentiment was echoed by many, particularly Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge, as he delivered a tribute yesterday on the passing of the public servant. This was done at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre.
President David Granger, also paid his final respects to the former Chief Planning Officer of the State Planning Secretariat (SPS), at a funeral service, held at the St. Anthony’s of Padua Parish in Buxton.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland, and other Government and Opposition members also attended the funeral service.
During his presentation, Greenidge said that he knew Roopchand as a friend, a son and even a brother.
The Second Vice President recalled that Roopchand was among the batch of students reading for a Degree in Economics when he was retained to teach Economics as a new lecturer at the University of Guyana in September 1974.
He noted that in those initially, part-time evening classes, were students who were, in some cases very mature.
Greenidge said, “For the most part however, they were little older than I. In Clyde’s case he was a little more than two years my senior. Many of his fellow students were already employed and they were all keen to work hard since they recognized that they were in the middle of a process of social and economic change.
“In that process, education was proving to be the main factor in social and economic mobility. Most would find employment that would lift them to a level in the socio-economic ladder well above that of their parents. So it was with Clyde.”
The former Finance Minister stated that Roopchand was a very diligent and conscientious student who could always be relied on to do his best notwithstanding that he was simultaneously studying and working.
Greenidge noted, however, that Roopchand was no walkover however.
“His classmates discovered that when they ventured into the area of government policies. By virtue of his job he had a better insight into policies and policy-making than most of them. He often triggered intense political debates with his defence of policies and indeed of the People’s National Congress (PNC).”
The Foreign Affairs Minister said that he left the University of Guyana and moved on to the State Planning Secretariat. This entity took over the offices of the Development Secretariat, Ministry of Economic Development, at Camp Street. Among those Greenidge inherited in the process was one, Clyde Raymond Roopchand.
Greenidge said that Roopchand distinguished himself early at that time even among high flyers and had many achievements to his name. He said that Roopchand was also involved in annual budget preparations when that function was taken from the Ministry of Finance in 1979 thereby leaving the State Planning Secretariat and the organs of the State Planning Commission with the unchallenged oversight of the entire policy formulation, planning and monitoring process.
“All in all, Clyde worked for an extended and fruitful period with myself and Clarence Ellis, Chairman of the State Planning Board (often incorrectly designated the Secretariat). Clyde eventually and deservedly became Chief Planning Officer (CPO) in 1987 and remained with the SPS until its de facto demise under the PPP.”
Greenidge noted that after 1988, Roopchand worked closely with him on the Economic Recovery Programme and the missions associated with it.
He noted that Parliament ended the shadowy existence of the SPS in 2013 and the Ministry of Finance was left to run a project cycle unit. He said that Roopchand eventually became the centre-piece of the institution and he was also synonymous with planning of capital projects.
“At work he collaborated with, nurtured and encouraged many young officers. He was a team player and leader and was recognised as such. Both the late Presidents Burnham and Desmond Hoyte who knew him personally would often call for and on him.
In spite of all of that he remained a very modest and unassuming man. He was eventually awarded the Cacique’s Crown of Honour (CCH) in 2011which he merited by virtue of his office of CPO not to mention his contribution to planning.”
The Foreign Affairs Minister asserted that Roopchand who passed away last week in New York, USA will be missed by all and extended sincere condolences to his immediate his wife Latchmin and children; Sharon, Karen and Kevin.
The Member of Parliament concluded, “You may rest assured that the wider community appreciated Clyde’s contribution to the development of our country. We will forever remember him and his modesty, his humanity, humility and his decency.”
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