Dereck, Director Emeritus and his passion— Justice for AllWritten by Professor John Edward Greene, CCH, Chancellor, University of Guyana
From my first engagement with Dereck after he was appointed Director in September 2013, I instinctively knew that he was someone special. My continuous association with him over the period of his tenure has proven that original instinct was ‘spot on’.
It is fitting that the theme of this tribute, “A man of the time for the time” has been organised by his adoring PANCAP staff. It is an apt description of Dereck. It echoes the sentiments of the entire Partnership that he is the creative leader, the fearless advocate for change and the stickler for “on time” action and “on time” deliverables. He is a man filled with passion to succeed, to champion the cause of the marginalized groups, to inspire the youth, to consolidate a Partnership of diverse communities around the theme, “Justice for All”.
I am aware of his strength of character, his ever willingness to confront the status quo, never backing down from the mission, “not leaving anyone behind”. But his passionate and resolute advocacy were always accompanied by thorough preparation, commitment to facts, impeccable logic and persuasive articulation.
Dereck recognises that if the Caribbean were to achieve the goal of ending AIDS by 2030, attention must be paid to affirming access to those most affected, most prominent among them, the LGBTQ population. It still is not a popular stand among important quarters of our Caribbean Community but it is the correct one. And in this regard as in so many other instances, Dereck has stood his ground. In so doing, he brought on board the parliamentarians, the faith leaders, the National AIDS Programme Managers, Civil society and youth to the table. This is a true example of functional cooperation that facilitates a “more community for all”.
Dereck, a thinker outside the box is highly regarded by Heads of Government, Ministers of Government, the Private sector, civil society, other regional and international partners. He has represented PANCAP and the Region with distinction and deserves every accolade. Let us not lose the talents of this gifted and remarkable human being. What about the title PANCAP Director Emeritus!