A reflection on the life of Patsy Robertson

In November 2020, former Commonwealth colleagues and friends of Patsy Robertson gathered together with members of her family in an online “Reflection on the Life of Patsy Robertson.” The event was organised by the Commonwealth Association (the alumni body of former  Commonwealth staff) which Patsy founded and chaired until her death, in August 2020. Incoming chair, Stuart Mole, explained: “Inevitably, we live in the shadow of Patsy’s death and we didn’t feel that we could meet again without paying tribute to Patsy’s remarkable life.” He continued: “Of course, there were many dimensions to that life – she was a multi-faceted jewel – but we wanted to remember, with gratitude, her outstanding contribution to the Commonwealth.”

The Reflection was opened by the current Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, though tributes were also received from the four living former Secretaries-General: Sonny Ramphal, Emeka Anyaoku, Don McKinnon and Kamalesh Sharma. Baroness Scotland began by referring to the introductory short video tribute to Patsy (see below) which she described as “sweet torture.” Speaking with obvious emotion she said:” I loved Patsy and one of the great privileges of my life was her friendship and to know that she loved me.” She described her as a “legendary communicator and networker” who was known and respected across the Commonwealth but who remained at heart “quintessentially Caribbean.” She concluded: “I salute her – she was the best of us, and what many of us aspire to be.” Seven former colleagues – Stephen Chan, Dharani Rethnam, Hugh Craft, Cheryl Dorall, Lorna McLaren, Joel Kibazo and Richard Bourne – then shared their own memories of Patsy. Concluding, Sarah Robertson (Patsy’s daugher), speaking on behalf of the family, thanked all those who had taken part and said that it was a great comfort to hear about Patsy’s Commonwealth work and to appreciate quite how widely she had been loved and respected.

The Reflection started with a slideshow of pictures from Patsy’s life

The Round Table published an appreciation of Patsy, with links to others which have been published.  It is available here  https://www.commonwealthroundtable.co.uk/commonwealth/patsy-robertson-an-appreciation/