Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave today confirmed that he will demit office at the end of June 2017, five years after he was appointed to the country’s highest office.
Sir Elliott had announced last December during his annual Christmas visit to the Psychiatric Hospital in Black Rock, St Michael that he intended to step down this year, although he gave no date at the time.
In announcing the date this afternoon during a visit to the island’s latest centenarian, Lena Carter, in Haggatt Hall, St Michael, the 85-year-old representative of the British monarch said he was “old and tired” and was looking forward to retirement and cruising the world.
Responding to a comment by Carter’s daughter that he still “looked good”, Sir Elliott gave a hearty chuckle and said: “My knees don’t look so good though. I am quite happy in my mind, body and soul, but I want to demit office so that someone else would have a chance, trying to carry on what is necessary.”
The former High Court judge, who first acted in the post from November 1, 2011 before his formal appointment on June 1 of the following year, said it was with “great reluctance” that he was leaving, while stressing that he was stepping down of his own free will.
At the same time, he said he would miss visiting the elderly and children.
“I love people, I like to see people happy, and to make people happy. But the job is very challenging, it’s very stressful and to do it properly you have to pay close attention to it.
“I take great delight in visiting the centenarians
. . . . I think my paying attention to the centenarians and to the children is one of the principle reasons I was appointed to this office which I regard as a great honour,” he stressed.
Regarded as “the Governor General of the people”, Sir Elliott has shown himself to be a Head of State with a difference. While others in the past might have been accused of not visiting the trenches, but sticking slavishly to their constitutional roles, he was credited for breaking that mould.
Whether it be the crime situation in the country, industrial disharmony, disquiet in the education system, or simple inter-personal relationships, Sir Elliott has not been averse to speaking his mind, offering advice and demonstrating leadership.