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Joan Purcell honoured as Dame Commander

The former government minister is now Dame Joan Purcell

In recognition of her extensive contributions to government and community, former Interim government member Joan Purcell has been bestowed with the title of Dame Commander by King Charles III.

This honour now entitles her to be referred to as Dame Joan Purcell.

The former interim Political Leader of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) was engaged in Social Work when she was invited by late Governor-General Sir Paul Scoon to become a part of the Interim government that was set up after the bloody collapse of the Grenada Revolution in a palace coup in which Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was killed.

Purcell then entered frontline politics with the Sir Nicholas Brathwaite-led Congress party for the 1990 general election and won the Town of St George constituency.

She switched to the Carriacou & Petite Martinique constituency for the 1995 elections as replacement for retiring Prime Minister Sir Nicholas Brathwaite and won the seat.

Purcell led the NDC team into the electoral battle in the 1999 poll, replacing former Finance Minister George Brizan who quit on the grounds of ill-health.

The party lost all 15 seats in the first of three clean sweeps at the polls by the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP).

Dame Joan Purcell bowed out from politics but was considered as a senior member of the party.

She is among four Grenadians celebrated in the King’s 2024 Birthday Honours List.

The honours were officially announced in the June 14, edition of the London Gazette and subsequently in an extraordinary edition of the Government of Grenada Gazette on June 17.

The honours list recognises individuals for their pre-eminent contributions in various fields.

The recognition of Dame Joan Purcell makes her the second former political leader of NDC to receive such an honour under the administration of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell, which came into power in June 2022.

The first was Tillman Thomas, who was Prime Minister from 2008 to 2013, and was honoured in the King’s 2023 Birthday Honours List for his contribution to services to Grenada.

The other honourees on this year’s list include Agnes Dorothy Lessey, who received a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her community service.

The British Empire Medal (BEM) was awarded to Elizabeth Forsyth for her contributions to education and Gerard Bethel for his entrepreneurial efforts in the fishing industry.

The celebration of the King’s Official Birthday, observed this year on 15 June, saw the King’s representative and Head of State, Governor-General Dame Cécile La Grenade hosting a reception to honour those citizens who were awarded.

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