Chief Sec: Reggie was Tobago’s advocate

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine –

Reginald Dumas was a steady advocate for Tobago, said THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine of the former head of the public service and diplomat, who died at the Scarborough General Hospital on Thursday at 88.

In a press release from his office on Friday, Augustine sent condolences to Dumas’s family and friends, saying he had left an indelible mark and rich legacy.

“His wisdom and discernment, and the impact he has had in the sphere of public service have been a building block to the progress of our island’s development. He will be missed.”

He said his legacy and influence will remain a source of encouragement and inspiration to others.

Dumas, also a Newsday columnist, died days after major surgery for a gastro-intestinal condition. Last week his daughter, Sonja Dumas, appealed for blood for her father, who was in the Intensive Care Unit.

On March 7, she posted on Facebook, “My father transitioned tonight.”

Sonja said her father had left a legacy of integrity and honesty “that I hope to follow as long as I am on this planet and perhaps beyond. He is my ancestor now, looking down on me, guiding me.”

She said that for many people, “he was a great diplomat, a great orator and great political analyst. He fought tirelessly for good governance. His generosity touched countless people, as did his wit (which was often acerbic)…

“But his heart was huge and his mind brilliant.”

She thanked “the various medical, surgical and anaesthesia teams for their herculean efforts to bring him back to health,” and “all the friends, allies, family members and strangers who donated blood and helped in various ways.”

The People’s National Movement (PNM) Tobago Council described Dumas as “not only a private citizen, but a selfless public servant, an intellectual and a nation builder known for his excellent service to TT and the world he served.

“Mr Dumas would always be remembered as a champion for good governance, always keen on ensuring that as an island and country we can withstand scrutiny. A model public servant known for his fundamental principles of honesty and integrity in public life, he would definitely be missed. May his legacy of service to his country be an example to us all, no matter our level, be it labourer or president. May his soul rest in peace.”

Tobago’s Innovative Democratic Alliance (IDA), in a press release, expressed a profound sense of loss, but said, “While this is indeed a solemn time for our island and nation, it must be taken as a moment for celebrating and saluting the life of an extraordinary public servant.”

It said as a former head of the public service, diplomat and historian, Dumas had made an indelible stamp on the public service landscape of TT.

“A man of extensive knowledge with a respected voice on public administration matters, Mr Dumas was a frank individual who openly yet tactfully espoused his perspectives in his forthright comments on issues of governance and civic responsibility. He was considered a Tobago elder of significance and calibre and was sought, far and wide, for his wisdom and pragmatism.”