Prominent Vincentian doctor honoured in NY
December 17, 2004
Prominent Vincentian doctor honoured in NY

by Nelson A. King in New York

In an extraordinary joint initiative, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ New York Consulate General and the Brooklyn-based umbrella group, Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, United States, Inc. (COSAGO), have honoured a prominent retired Vincentian surgeon, Dr. Errol G. King.{{more}}

Dr. King, 62, a fixture in the Vincentian community in New York, returned to his homeland permanently in August to enjoy his golden years, after working for 16 uninterrupted years as an attending surgeon in the emergency room at the popular Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.

Simultaneously he worked, on a part time basis for 14 consecutive years, at St. John’s Hospital in Far Rockaway, Queens.

But it was Dr. King’s community activism that prompted the special collaboration between the Consulate General and the Council, said Arnold “Lydon” Charles, the Council’s president, a certified public accountant.

“He’s been a stalwart in the Vincentian community,” added Charles about Dr. King, who also served as president of the Council from 1995 to 1998. “He’s been in touch with everybody here. He worked overtime to do whatever was in the best interest of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

O’Brien Simmons, another former Council president currently serving as treasurer, said that King was an inspiration to all Council members.

Stanley Browne, who, with Dr. King, served as president of the New Jersey-based Friends of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Grammar School, said that King has had tremendous impact on the Vincentian community, noting that two United States’ presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, know him personally.

King became close to Clinton when he worked in private practice in Arkansas from 1975 to 1984. King’s estranged wife, Betty Boyea-King, served as one of Clinton’s ambassadors at a United Nations’ agency.

“This community will miss ‘E.G.’ not because of his sense of humility, his sense of caring,

but he’s been the glue,” said Browne, an ex-Council president.

Dr. Baldwin King, a professor in chemistry at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, who was also King’s classmate at the Grammar School, said that King was one of the more brilliant scholars the island has ever produced.

“He was brilliant in all subjects – sciences and the arts,” said Baldwin King, a King relative. “Hopefully, in retirement, you’ll find all the happiness.”

King was awarded St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ only “Island Scholarship”, which enabled him to commence university matriculation in 1959.

In 1966, after attending the University of the West Indies (UWI) at Mona, Jamaica, from 1960 to 1966, King received his joint Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Science (MBBS) degree.

He then underwent internship at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados and residency at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, specializing in surgery.

He became a member of the American Board of Surgery in 1977. And after nine years in private practice in Arkansas, he returned home for four years – “to give back” to his country of birth – as an attending surgeon at the Kingstown General Hospital, now known as the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, named after the nation’s first prime minister.

From there, King landed in New York, where his community activism expanded significantly.

He was a member of the New York-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines-American Medical Association, member of the Guild of Graduates of the University of the West Indies, member of the American National Medical Association, and member of the Washington-based National Coalition of Caribbean Affairs, among other civic and academic organizations.

An avid sports fan – his athleticism was clearly exhibited, particularly in the high jump, at the Grammar School – King sought scholarships for many pecuniary students at home, enabling two to attend the University of Arkansas on a tennis scholarship.

“He funded everything for me,” said Nigel Liverpool, the island’s national tennis coach, one of the beneficiaries of King’s munificence, who also attended the ceremony.

“He was just kind-hearted,” he added. “He takes credit for the growth of tennis in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Thanks to Dr. King for making me the man I am today.”

Liverpool, who also was an ex-student of the Grammar School, reportedly spearheaded fund-raising initiatives for the construction of a modern tennis facility in the country, aided by an undisclosed, huge grant from the Taiwanese government.

King said it all was in a day’s work and said he was passing the torch to the next generation.