TRIBUTE TO DR. PTOLEMY ALEXANDER REID, O.E., FORMER
PRIME MINISTER OF GUYANA AND DEPUTY LEADER OF THE
PEOPLE’S NATIONAL CONGRESS
Dr Ptolemy Alexander Reid, O.E., Former Prime Minister of Guyana and former Deputy Leader and General Secretary of the People’s National Congress passed away, peacefully at approximately 22:00 hours (10:00 p.m.) on Tuesday September 2, 2003, at his home 283 Atlantic Gardens, East Coast Demerara. He was eighty five (85) years old.
Ptolo, as he was fondly called had an illustrious career as a Teacher, Veterinarian and Politician. Born on May 8, 1918 in Dartmouth Village, on the Essequibo Coast, he attended primary school in the village and became pupil teacher before entering the then Teachers Training College (TTC) now Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) from which he graduated in 1941. After graduation he returned to his village school and served for eight (8) years before proceeding to the then Tuskegee Institute now Tuskegee University in 1949 to pursue studies leading to the Degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM). On completion of his studies Ptolo returned to British Guyana in May 1955.
Unable to find suitable employment at home at that time Ptolo migrated to Canada where he gained employment.
His yearning to serve the Guyanese people was, however, so strong that he proceeded to England in 1957 and in record time completed the requirements for the award of the degree – Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) and in 1958 he landed a job with Bookers Sugar Estates Ltd.
He joined the People’s National Congress in 1960 and offered himself as a candidate for the Party in the Pomeroon Constituency at the 1961 General Elections and lost. He was again a candidate of the PNC for the 1964 General Elections after which he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in the PNC/UF coalition Government.
Dr. Ptolemy Alexander Reid held the portfolios of Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Finance and Minister of Agriculture and on the assumption of the Executive Presidency by our Founder Leader, Mr. L.F.S. Burnham he was appointed Prime Minister of Guyana.
Dr. Reid retired from the office of Prime Minister on August 15, 1984 almost one year before the death of L.F.S. Burnham on August 6, 1985. He was immediately appointed to the vacant position of Deputy Leader of the PNC.
As Deputy Leader of the Party Ptolo was instrumental in his role as mentor and mediator; indeed he remained the Party’s Father figure until his death.
Dr. Reid was twice married. His first marriage was to Ruth Chalmers in 1955, that marriage subsisted for forty two (42) years until September 1997 when Ruth died and he married a childhood sweetheart (his description) Marjorie Griffith Reid who also predeceased him on May 25th 2003 just over three (3) months ago.
The People’s National Congress Reform joins with his son Herman and all other family members in mourning his passing. In celebration of his life the Party will host a traditional wake at its headquarters Congress Place, Sophia on Friday 5th September, 2003.