Shridath Ramphal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Honourable Sir
Shridath Surendranath "Sonny" Ramphal
2nd Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations
In office
1 July 1975 – 30 June 1990
Head Elizabeth II
Preceded by Arnold Smith
Succeeded by Chief Emeka Anyaoku
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guyana
In office
Prime Minister Forbes Burnham
Preceded by Forbes Burnham
Succeeded by Frederick Wills
Personal details
Born (1928-10-03) 3 October 1928 (age 87)
Nationality Guyanese

Sir Shridath Surendranath "Sonny" Ramphal GCMG AC ONZ OE OM OCC QC (born 3 October 1928) served as the second Commonwealth Secretary-General from 1975 to 1990. He previously served as the Foreign Minister of Guyana, from 1972 to 1975 and Assistant Attorney General of the West Indies Federation from 1958 to 1962.


Ramphal was born in New Amsterdam, British Guiana, to an Indo-Guyanese family. He studied law at Gray's Inn in London, where he was called to the bar in 1951. He then studied for a law degree at King's College London and was a Guggenheim Fellow at Harvard Law School.

He started his legal career as a Crown Counsel in the Attorney-General’s Office in 1953, becoming Solicitor-General and then Assistant Attorney-General of the short-lived West Indies Federation. After a period in private practice in Jamaica he returned to Guyana in 1965 to be the Attorney General. Two years later he was also appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs, later becoming Minister of Justice (from 1973) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (from 1972). In 1975 he left Guyana to be Commonwealth Secretary-General. [1]

He also served as the Chancellor of the University of Warwick from 1989 to 2002, at the University of the West Indies until 2003, and as Chancellor of the University of Guyana.

During Ramphal's time as Commonwealth Secretary-General, the United Kingdom represented by Margaret Thatcher was found to be in a minority of one on the issue of economic sanctions against apartheid South Africa.

With Ingvar Carlsson, he was in 1995 one of the co-chairs of the Commission on Global Governance, which reported on issues of international development, international security, globalization and global governance.

Family life[edit]

Ramphal has two daughters, Susan and Amanda, and two sons, Ian and Mark.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Inseparable Humanity: An Anthology of Reflections (Hansib, 1988)
  • Triumph for UNCLOS: The Guyana-Suriname Maritime Arbitration (Hansib, 2008)
  • Caribbean Challenges: Sir Shridath Ramphal's Collected Counsel (Hansib, 2012)

Honours and awards[edit]

Sir Shridath was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 1966 Birthday Honours (the list was dated to 25 May of that year).[2] He was knighted in the 1970 New Year Honours, and invested with his knighthood by the Queen at Buckingham Palace on 3 February.[3][4] He was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG) in 1990.[5]

On 26 February 1982, Sir Shridath was appointed an honorary Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).[6]On 6 February 1990, Ramphal was the nineteenth appointee to the Order of New Zealand,[7] New Zealand's highest civil honour. He was decorated as a Member of the Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC) in the first conferment in 1992.[8] In May 2006 Ramphal was appointed an Honorary Fellow of Royal Society of Arts. He is a Vice-President of the Royal Commonwealth Society. The Ramphal Building at the University of Warwick was named in his honour.

Further reading[edit]

  • Richard Bourne, Shridath Ramphal: The Commonwealth and the World (Hansib, 2009)


  1. ^ "Tributes to Sir Shridath Ramphal on his eightieth birthday". Staboek News. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "London Gazette, 3 June 1966". 1966-06-03. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  3. ^ "London Gazette, 30 December 1969". 1969-12-30. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  4. ^ "London Gazette, 6 February 1970". 1970-02-06. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  5. ^ "The Barbados Advocate". Barbados Advocate. 22 October 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Australia: It's an Honour
  7. ^ "Honours and Awards" (15 February 1990) 23 New Zealand Gazette 445 at 446.
  8. ^ Biographical sketch

External links[edit]

  • The Ramphal Institute - Official website for the continuation of the work of Sir Shridath Ramphal: promoting good governance, economic development and social justice around the world.
Political offices
Preceded by
Arnold Smith
Secretary-General for the Commonwealth
Succeeded by
Chief Emeka Anyaoku
Academic offices
Preceded by
Baron Scarman
Chancellor of the University of Warwick
Succeeded by
Nick Scheele