The University of the West Indies extends sympathy to the nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis on the passing of its distinguished statesman, former Governor General, Sir Samuel Weymouth Tapley Seaton.
A friend of the University, Sir Tapley was among the most vibrant and visible patrons of The UWI’s annual Global Giving programme. Since 2017, in his support, he hosted the yearly Global Giving & Pelican Award Ceremony at Government House in collaboration with the UWI Alumni Association – Saint Kitts and Nevis Chapter.
In 2019, the University conferred Sir Tapley with the Honorary LLD in tribute of his excellent record of public as well as private sector service.
The UWI alumnus and attorney by profession, made his mark as a regional pioneer in the legal field. Admitted to practice Law in 1975 from among the first group of graduates of the Faculty of Law at The UWI Cave Hill Campus, he went on to become the first of the cohort to be appointed Attorney General (1980) at the age of 29 and was the youngest Attorney General in the Commonwealth. He served as Attorney General of Saint Kitts and Nevis for 15 years, becoming the longest serving Attorney General in the region. With his tenure spanning both the pre and post-independent Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sir Tapley also became the first Attorney General of the independent state having earlier served as Crown Counsel and Acting Registrar and Magistrate.
In 1985 Sir Tapley was awarded the rank of Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during a Royal visit to Saint Kitts and Nevis. In 1988 he was elevated to the rank of Silk (Queen’s Counsel) becoming the first graduate of the West Indian Law school to achieve the honour.
After his public service as Attorney General ended in 1995, Sir Tapley spent 20 years in private practice, during which time he served as a Director of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, a member of the Tripartite Committee (Government/Chamber/Trade Union) and a member of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal. Other prominent positions he has held include: President of the Saint Kitts and Nevis Bar Association; Director of the Saint Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce; President of the OECS Bar Association; 1st President of the Saint Christopher National Trust; Vice President of the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society; and Chairman of The UWI Territorial Advisory Committee.
In September of 2015, Sir Tapley was appointed Governor-General of Saint Kitts and Nevis and later that year was conferred a knighthood by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He continued to serve as Governor-General until January 2023, sharing his passion for law, history and conservation to enhance citizen patriotism.
In expressing condolences on behalf of his beloved alma mater, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said “Sir Tapley’s life and career included several outstanding firsts. The beauty of going first is the distinct honour of charting a course but also the weighty responsibility of doing it well. A true Caribbean pioneer in the legal fraternity, Sir Tapley started early, adding value with relentless determination; he stayed the course with unquestionable excellence; and he finished with finesse. We grieve with the region, the nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis and his family, but acknowledge once again, that indeed he was the kind of Caribbean man on whose efforts nations are built. Thank you, Sir Tapley.”