Tribute to an outstanding diplomat, honourable statesman, and a great human being

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room
Ramez-Ban Ki-Moon

Tribute to an outstanding diplomat, honourable statesman, and a great human being

By Ambassador Walton Aubrey Webson, Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations

As we celebrate this holy and festive season, I take a moment to reflect on the life of our veteran diplomat who recently left us for a heavenly place. Ambassador Sir Ramez Fares Hadeed, KGCN passed away on the 7th of December 2023.  He and his dear wife Lady Afaf are now at the Lord’s altar with the angels.

My presence at the table in this noble and honorable profession was late in coming, as I joined the diplomatic corps a mere ten years ago when Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne asked me to serve my country at the level of the United Nations. This offer I could not refuse as there is no greater earthly honor than to serve one’s country and fellow nationals.

On taking up my assignment, I had the distinguished honour of meeting Sir Ramez whose dedication to service immediately earned my respect and admiration as an outstanding national of the highest possible esteem.

His passing is a significant loss not only to our country, but also to the international community. Sir Ramez attended United Nations General Assembly meetings for decades and provided support to the Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda in New York as our small country endeavored to establish and deepen our diplomatic relationships with many global powers.

For over sixty years this exceptional individual dedicated his life to his adopted home of Antigua and Barbuda. At home he was an outstanding visionary in the area of business and his spirit of altruism and philanthropy touched many lives and households across the length and breadth of our country. He provided leadership, intelligence, and integrity to the private sector and an unwaning commitment to diplomacy which he passed on to young and fledgling diplomats.

As a senior statesman, Ambassador Hadeed had a deep understanding of political, social, and economic challenges faced by Antigua and Barbuda and its people. He provided sound advice and genuine support to any government who served this nation in addressing a variety of social and economic challenges. As a businessman, his vision and strategic thinking has left a lasting impression on the economic landscape of our twin island nation.  He contributed widely towards the economic growth of the country over the forty two years of Independence and in the emergence of the new Antigua and Barbuda.

Beyond the diplomatic and business acumen that Sir Ramez brought to the national table, he was known for his compassion and profound empathy. He genuinely cared for the welfare of people and the wellbeing of all humanity. Ambassador Hadeed’s humanitarian efforts touched many lives within our nation, bringing hope and countless positive change to many in need.

The passing of this extraordinary individual will leave a void to fill, not only in the diplomatic space, but in nation building. His legacy will serve to remind future diplomats and businesspeople who are focused on nation building that service to nation is honourable and rewarding as we focus on the importance of leadership, compassion, and diplomacy regardless of the levels we are asked to serve in that humble task.

In his memory, let us carry forward those values and principles he held dear. Let us work to bridge divides and promote understanding between all of our citizens and between all nations.

Although his loss will be deeply felt, let us find solace in the fact that the contribution of Sir Ramez will be remembered and celebrated for generations to come. His impact on this nation and I suggest this corner of the world will not be forgotten.

And as we anticipate the joys of this season and reflect on the passing of our great patriots, I must also pause to remember the contribution of Mr. James ‘Tanny’ Rose and more recently Mr. Ricardo Drue, all of whom shared exceptional lives and gave much towards the development of this nation. Let us honour their achievement and express our gratitude for their contribution in different spaces in nation building and in a dedicated commitment to our beautiful shores.

The spirit of generosity of these three gentlemen was a telling feature of their character and will be long remembered in the rich and enduring legacy they have all now left behind.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families, colleagues, and friends at this time. Our nation has lost true patriots, many have lost trusted friends, and we are all poorer for the departure of these wonderful human beings from our national landscape.

May they continue to rest in peace.

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