Barely five months after he was recognized by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, as “a part of our great American story,” former Grenada Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Lamuel Stanislaus, has died. He was 95.
Dr. Stanislaus, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, was confirmed dead by his wife, Beryl. She told the Caribbean Life that Sir Lamuel died at 8:24 am on Sunday at a hospice in Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn, where he was taken to, from his Brooklyn home, on Friday.
Shortly after celebrating his 95th birthday on April 22, Sir Lamuel told Caribbean Life that he was “suffering with the ravages of cancer of the prostrate and cancer of the bones.”
“The family of Dr. Lamuel A. Stanislaus, former UN ambassador for Grenada, wishes to advise the community of his passing on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 at 8:24 am,” said Stanislaus’ family in a statement. “We will miss him very much. We want to thank everyone for their prayers and support during his illness. May God bless you all.”
Derek Ventour — the Brooklyn-based, Grenadian-born entertainment producer, who was instrumental in Sir Lamuel receiving US Presidential and Congressional recognitions, at the behest of Brooklyn Congresswomen Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, and New York State recognition — told Caribbean Life on Sunday that he was saddened by Sir Lamuel’s passing.
“He was the greatest treasure we’ve lost in our community,” Ventour said. “He was an inspiration to many. He was a fixture – one of our pillars. He was a scholar, a gentleman and a great conversationalist.
“I was very happy to be the one responsible for obtaining the US Presidential Proclamation, Congressional Citation and the message from the governor (Andrew Cuomo) of the State of New York,” added Ventour.
Dr. Roy Hastick, the Grenadian-born founder and president of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), said “it’s a sad day for all Grenadians, Carriacouans and Petite Martiniquans, and a sad day for Caribbean Americans in the Diaspora in the passing of a father, friend, mentor, leader, diplomat and healer.
“He (Sir Lamuel) recognized that Caribbean Americans, Grenadian Americans who came to these shores should have a great life,” Hastick said.
“As a devoted family man, he was not selfish; he led by example,” he added. “Me and my family and the wider Caribbean community have learned a lot from him, respected him and will always cherish the time we spent together for his mentoring. May his soul rest in peace!”
Janice Celestine, former Grenada Consul General to New York, during the time that Stanislaus was ambassador to the UN, said Sir Lamuel was “an ambassador in all its definition. “
“He was exceptionally patriotic, a great statesman, very knowledgeable about political and international affairs, humble, humorous, and to me personally, a great teacher and mentor,” she said. “He will be greatly missed.”
Dr. Karen Lawson — founder and director of Reach Within, a non-profit organization that serves the “most vulnerable children of Grenada,” with offices in Grenada and New York — said Dr. Stanislaus “greatly influenced our work by encouraging us to stay simple and pure in our mission.
“He encouraged us to highlight the strengths of those children in order to lift them out of adversity,” she said. “He was and will always be the light that guides our path.”
“I had the great privilege of calling ‘doc’ my good friend,” added Lawson, stating that, “just a few days ago, when he told me that he was ready to meet his creator, I was overcome in awe for his deep faith.”
“This is how he lived his life, this is how he influenced so many around him, and we should continue to do so in his great memory,” she continued.
After President Obama recognized Stanislaus on his 95th birthday, Stanislaus told Caribbean Life that he was “humbled” that the US president had noted his contribution “and took the time to let you know.”
The Stanislaus family said Sir Lamuel was a “retired dentist by profession and a retired UN diplomat by appointment,” who had served twice as Grenada’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary representative to the United Nations (1985-1990) and (1998-2004).
Between these two appointments, he served as ambassador-at–large and deputy permanent representative for two years.
Born in Petite Martinique, Grenada’s smallest sister isle — the larger is Carriacou — Stanislaus was educated at Grenada Boys’ Secondary School (1933-1938) and Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he received his Bachelor of Science (summa cum laude) degree in 1948, and the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree in 1953.
He was engaged in the private practice of dentistry in New York City for 32 years before taking up the UN appointments, the family said.
“There, he became known as a seasoned, substantive and eloquent voice on behalf of his country, and, on occasions, when he was delegated to speak on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean countries (GRULAC),” the family said.
Sir Lamuel also served for a year as a vice-president of the UN General Assembly, “during which he was appointed to act for a month in the absence of the president, receiving highest commendation for the conduct of the business of the General Assembly for that month,” according to the Stanislaus family.
The family also said another highlight of Stanislaus’ tenure was “the persuasive statement made before the Decolonization Committee, which resulted in the invitation to the then chief minister of Montserrat to come to the UN to plead his case for additional help for his volcanic-ravaged island.”
The family, however, said Sir Lamuel’s legacy to his country and to 11 other small Commonwealth countries at the United Nations is what is known as the “Small States Joint Office at the UN, where the larger Commonwealth States have given well-appointed shared offices to smaller Commonwealth States rent free for the past 25 years and counting.”
Dr. Stanislaus was the recipient of numerous professional, civic and political awards, including the Insignia of Commander of the British Empire from her Majesty the Queen of England (CBE); The Lifetime Achievement Award from the district attorney of Brooklyn; Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from St. George’s University; and the Distinguished Service award from Brooklyn Historical Society.
“Dr. Stanislaus subscribes to the philosophy that awards, rewards and recognition are not necessary if one has done his duty to family and country,” the family said. “Most importantly he is a family man, having been married for 63 years, and the father of five children and seven grandchildren.”
The family said funeral arrangements are yet to be made.