University of the West Indies Professor Emeritus Norman Girvan passed away in Cuba yesterday, three months after he became paralysed following a fall while hiking in Dominica.
He was 72.
Until recently, Girvan, a Jamaican by birth, was a Professorial Research Fellow at UWI’s Institute of International Relations.
In 2010, he was appointed as the United Nations Secretary General’s personal representative on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy.
Since 2009, he was a member of the United Nations Committee on Development Policy.
Girvan has been secretary general of the Association of Caribbean States, professor of Development Studies and director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies at the University of the West Indies, and head of the National Planning Agency of the government of Jamaica.
Director of the International Relations Institute at the St Augustine campus of UWI, Andy Knight, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that Girvan had been flown to Havana for medical treatment and was due to have undergone an operation to ease the pain on his spine.
“We were still hopeful that perhaps at some point he would have been strong enough to get the operation done and that would release the pressure on his spine,” he said, adding that the “vertebrae was crushing the spinal chord…and bring back some of the movement in his body.
“From his neck down he was paralysed…and today we heard he passed away. We are very heavy-hearted because we felt Norman still had a lot to give to the region,” he said.
Girvan is survived by his wife and two children.
In a brief statement, the UWI said funeral arrangements would be announced later.