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Economist Charles Skeete passes away


Economist Charles Skeete passes away

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Charles Skeete, a leading Caribbean economist, who was a prominent Barbados diplomat in the 1980s in Washington, has died in Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.

Skeete, 79, died peacefully at home among family and friends yesterday afternoon.

“Charles was a caring and understanding husband and Caribbean person whose interest in his family, Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean was limitless,” said his wife Joylyn Skeete, who confirmed his death.

The Barbadian, a graduate of the University of the West Indies, was so highly regarded in the circles of international economists, that he was invited in the 1980s to serve among the region’s economic “wise men”, a panel of experts who examined the economies and social development of Caribbean Community (Caricom) member states.

Before becoming Barbados’ Ambassador to the United States and the Organisation of American States in the 1980s, Skeete was Permanent Secretary in Barbados’ Ministry of Finance during his wide-ranging and distinguished career as an economist and an administrator.

Skeete, who was more widely known as “Charlie”, served for a number of years as the English-speaking Caribbean’s representative on the executive board of the Inter-American Development Bank, later becoming a senior economic adviser at the Western Hemisphere’s largest international financial institution in Washington. He was at the bank for at least a quarter of a century.

At different times Skeete advised successive Barbados Governments and their leaders, including Errol Barrow and Tom Adams.

When the Adams Administration decided in the early 1980s to negotiate a standby arrangement with the International Monetary Fund to kick start economic growth, Adams, the Prime Minister, turned to Skeete to begin the negotiating process.

“That was a request which I consider to have been a very important assignment and it turned out well for Barbados,” Skeete told the Sunday Sun a few years ago.

When the Combermere School Old Scholars Association inducted him into its Blue Ribbon Class of distinguished former students in 2006, Skeete urged students to strive for excellence in and out of the classroom.

Skeete is survived by his wife Joylyn and son Nicholas Skeete. (TB)