A former head of the Grenada Public Service Commission was sworn in on May 7 as the first ever female governor general of the “Spice Isle.”
Dr. Cecile La Grenade took the oath of office before Justice Margaret Price-Findlay, becoming the second woman to be the island’s head of state and the sixth governor general.
The late Dame Hilda Bynoe, who died earlier this year, was Grenada’s first head of state. She was the island’s first governor with the attainment of statehood status from Great Britain in 1967.
La Grenade, a U.S.-trained food technologist, succeeds Sir Carlyle Glean, who served under former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.
La Grenade, who was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Queen Elizabeth II for her work in managing the family-owned De La Grenade Industries, said she was “honored and humbled by the confidence placed in me with this appointment.”
She noted that she was following in the “formidable footsteps” of Dame Hilda, stating that the task ahead will not easy.
The new governor general lauded her mother, Sybil La Grenade, a home economics pioneer, and her grandmother, Eva Oliver Sylvester, the first female to be elected to the Legislative Council in Grenada.
“All of these women pioneers were strong, committed, patriotic and dedicated individuals who seized the opportunity, not just to make history but to use the positions of power, decision making and leadership for the greater good of the people they served.,” she said.
“I have every intention of doing my utmost to continue the legacy that they have already established – the foremost being innovation, scholarship, service and patriotism,” she added.
“My single ambition is to exercise the functions of this esteemed position with grace and honor in the manner in which the eminence of this high office dictates,” La Grenade continued.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell – whose New National Party (NNP) was elected in the Feb. 19 general election, after five years in opposition – said La Grenade’s swearing-in “allows us to once again, make a bold national statement about the value we place on women leadership.
“We are pleased to note that her swearing-in breaks the tradition of nominating heads of state who came into office after having recent connections to a party’s political process,” he said.
“She has not been an MP (Member of Parliament) or a member of the executive of a party like our last three nominees had been,” he noted.
“And while all are men, with great attributes and are well meaning, there might have been a quiet suspicion among the population – rightly or wrongly – that in the heat of political battles, our head of state might have a team in the fight,” he continued. “This will definitely not be the case now.”