Dr. Ptolemy Alexander Reid, OE
Former Prime Minister of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana
Dr. Ptolemy Alexander Reid (8 May 1912 - 2 September 2003) was a Guyanese veterinarian and politician who served as Prime Minister of Guyana from 1980 to 1984.
Early life and education
Dr. Reid was born in Dartmouth Village on the Essequibo Coast on 8 May 1918 to Herman and Marion Reid. He attended the village primary school where he eventually became a pupil teacher before entering the Teacher's Training College (TTC) now the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE).
He graduated from TTC in 1941 after which he went back to serve as a teacher at his village school. He left Guyana in 1949 to pursue a Degree in Veterinary Medicine at the famous Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University, in Alabama, USA. Dr. Reid was the first South American student to graduate from the Institute.
Dr. Reid returned to Guyana in 1955 where he married Ruth Chalmers. Shortly after, unable to find employment locally, he migrated to Canada where he practiced as a veterinarian in the province of Saskatchewan.
From Canada, he went on to further his studies at the University of London, where he quickly was awarded the degree necessary for placement as a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
In 1958, he went to work at Bookers Sugar Estate as the Chief Veterinary Officer after which he was promoted to the board of directors of the company.
In 1960 he joined the People's National Congress and offered himself as a candidate for the party in the Pomeroon Constituency in the 1961 General Elections, and lost. Three years later he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in the PNC/UF Coalition Government. During his sixteen years as Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Reid also held the portfolios of Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Finance and Minister of Agriculture. In 1980 he was appointed Prime Minister under the Executive Presidency of L.F.S. Burnham. Dr. Reid retired his post in 1984. He spent his retirement farming on the East Bank of Demerara.
Dr. Reid was twice married. His first marriage was to Ruth Chalmers in 1955, that marriage subsisted for 42 years until September 1997 when Ruth died and he married a childhood sweetheart (his description) Marjorie Griffith Reid who also predeceased him on 25 May 2003.
Honours and awards
During a long and illustrious career, Dr. Reid was the recipient of several distinguished awards including the Order of Excellence, Order of Gran Cruz (Colombia), and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Tuskegee University.
Dr Ptolemy Reid died on 2 September 2003, aged 91.