Distinguished Jamaican born scientist, Sir Professor Godfrey “Geoff” Palmer, OBE, has been appointed Jamaica’s first Honorary Consul in Scotland.
H.E. Seth George Ramocan, CD, High Commissioner, said he was very pleased with the appointment of Sir Geoff who has demonstrated an undying love for Jamaica through his many decades of leadership, advocacy and promotion of the strong historical, social and economic ties between Jamaica and Scotland.
Born in the parish of St Elizabeth in Jamaica in 1940, Godfrey Henry Oliver “Geoff” Palmer, as he is known to friends and colleagues, migrated to Britain in 1955 as a part of the Windrush generation. He overcame early educational and other challenges, to later graduate with a degree in Botany from Leicester University in 1964. In 1968, he graduated with a PhD in grain science and technology from Edinburgh University. While working at the Brewing Research Foundation he invented the Barley Abrasion Process, which revolutionised the brewing industry. He was the first person in Europe and the fourth in the world to have been honoured with the American Society of Brewing Chemist Award of Distinction.
In 1989, Sir Geoff became the first black professor in Scotland. He was knighted In 2014, for services to human rights, science and charity. He is a founding member of the Jamaica Society Scotland.
During his working life, Sir Geoff travelled and lectured worldwide and was instrumental in the development of the cereal, sorghum as food and brewing material in Africa. He also helped to secure the first export of British barley to China.
On his retirement in 2005 he was made Emeritus Professor of the Heriot-Watt University and he has accepted Honorary Doctorates from a number of Universities including the University of the West Indies. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and of the Institute of Brewing.
Professor Palmer, who is also a human rights activist, has researched, written and lectured extensively on the Scottish links with slavery and the Slave Trade, including Scotland’s role in the Abolition of Slavery.
He currently serves as the Honorary President of the Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council.