An extraordinary public meeting of the Island Council of the Public Entity of Saba took place at the Government building in The Bottom, March 13, in memoriam of the late Peter Leicester Granger. Not all Island Council members were able to attend the meeting called on short notice.
The meeting was chaired by Acting Lt. Governor Roy Smith, who spoke of “Cessie” Granger’s political career “of incredible vigour and forcefulness,” describing the man as a “relentless crusader for what he thought was right.” As in all the speeches held, the senior Council members recalled different lessons taught and bits of advice given by Granger, as he was passing the torch to a new generation of leaders, who were in many ways shaped by his vision of public service.
Councilman Carl Buncamper extended his heartfelt condolences and testified to the humanitarian side of the late Peter Granger. He recalled conversations with Granger and his Council, when Buncamper entered politics. “Whatever you do, do it with the highest integrity and best intentions and don’t let anyone, for the wrong reasons, sway you from your efforts.” The message, said Buncamper, “still grows in me today and will continue to do so, as I continue to serve the people of this beautiful isle of Saba [that-Ed.] I have been privileged to call home for the last 20 years.” Buncamper recalled the regular, informal conversations with Granger over the years, the always positive and friendly disposition of the man as well as his meticulous attention in personal finance and in filing his taxes prior to entering the Honourable Henry Every Old Age Home.
Council member Rolando Wilson also spoke to the friendly nature of the man known by many of his generation as “Paps” or “Uncle Cess” and of his formidable skill of bringing people together, such as when he established the Saba People’s Party, a colour green party. Wilson next recalled how in 1971 Granger – with Will Johnson, John Woods, Calvin Holm, Stevanis Heiliger, Eddy Peterson, Leonard Hassell, Ellis Zagers, Alicks Heiliger and Kenneth Peterson – had formed the Windward Islands People’s Movement (WIPM). That political party, explained Wilson, had counterparts at the time in St. Maarten and St. Eustatius, as the Windward Islands movements had decided to block the powerful influence of the Democratic Party of St. Maarten. It is on that platform that Peter Granger became Island Council member and Commissioner between 1975 and 1983, while also acting as Lt. Governor for many years. Commissioner Granger, recalled Wilson, held the portfolios of Health Care, Public Works, Agriculture, Fishery, Husbandry, Housing, Environment and Planning. Granger is also credited with bringing in experienced administrators such as Joe Richardson, George Larmonie, George Sleewijk, Wycliff Smith and later Sidney Sorton and the first Island Secretary Van Der Iaan. Councilman Wilson mentioned certain projects implemented by Granger, such as the re-capping of the roads from Windwardside to The Bottom, to Booby Hill, from Windwardside to Hell’s Gate, the Alley and above “The Bush,” the reconstruction of the road to lower St. John’s and the construction of the roads to Well’s Bay, to Troy Hill and to Cove Bay. Granger had overseen the infrastructure for the housing project in the Range, the reconstruction of the Fort Bay Harbour after Hurricane Luis and Hugo, the re-capping of the airport and landscaping removal of the north hill there. He was instrumental in the building of the hospital, the old age home as well as Sacred Heart School. WIPM Councilman Wilson also recalled that after the 1986 Federal Election, Granger and Vernon Hassel had broken for the WIPM party and in 1987, Granger had joined the Saba Democratic Labour Movement, also a colour green party. That next election was won by the new party with members such as Vernon Hassell, Peter Granger, Ramon Hassell, Kenneth Johnson, Nellie Peterson, Rolando Wilson, Hendrick Hassell, Paddy Johnson and Calvin Holm.
Councilman Wilson finished by saying that “on behalf of President of the Windward Islands People’s Movement, Stanley William Johnson and on behalf of all the members of the WIPM Party, from the Executive and Island Council, who have served and worked with him during those years, we say thank you to the deceased’s family Mrs. Buncamper-Granger and Vincent Granger.”