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Former permanent secretary Garnet Woodham dies

Life Tributes

Sunday, January 26, 2014    

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FORMER permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education and Inter-American Bank (IDB) executive Garnet Woodham died on January 1. He was 81.

Woodham, who was ailing for some time, passed away in Potomac, Maryland, USA.

Woodham, who was born in Oracabessa, St Mary, to Cyril and Sarah Beatrice Woodham, gained his early education at Time and Patience Primary School in St Catherine, where his mother was principal.

In 1944, he won one of four scholarships from the parish, which enabled him to enter Beckford and Smith for Boys (now St Jago High School), where he completed his Jamaica School Certificate exams.

In 1952, Woodham left Jamaica for London to work and further his studies. Three years later, he entered Ruskin Trade Union College where he pursued and earned a diploma before moving to Worcester College, Oxford University where he received a BA degree in politics, philosophy and economics.

He returned to Jamaica in 1959 and joined the civil service as an administrative cadet in the finance ministry.

Woodham rose up the ranks before accepting a Ford Foundation Fellowship that took him to John F Kennedy School, Harvard University, where he obtained a master's degree in public administration in 1970.

Upon returning to Jamaica, Woodham continued working in the public service and was eventually appointed permanent secretary in the education ministry.

In 1978, he took up a fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the special programme for Urban and Regional Studies of Development Areas.

On completion in 1979, he joined the IDB as a development economist, guiding infrastructure and social sector investment projects across the Caribbean, Central and South America.

In 1986, Woodham was appointed IDB representative to Trinidad and Tobago, after which he served in the same capacity in The Bahamas.

He returned to the IDB head office in Washington, DC in 1994 before retiring from the bank later that year.

Woodham is survived by his wife Anne, daughter Sara-Anne, sons Garnet, Robert, and Philip, and nine grandchildren.

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