PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform 10th September 2007 Media Centre Congress Place, Sophia

The Death of Sir John Compton, late Prime Minister of St. Lucia
September 10, 2007

The People’s National Congress Reform wishes to record its sadness at the passing of Sir John Compton, one of the Regions most respected politicians and a convinced and confirmed proponent of the integration of the English speaking Caribbean. Accordingly, the Party tenders its condolences to Lady Compton, his children and close relatives and friends. In so doing it expresses the hope that the achievements which decorate Sir John’s career and the strength derived from their Christian background and faith would enable them to sustain and accept this loss.

Like most of the early West Indian leaders, Sir John Compton’s political career rests upon impressive scholastic foundation. While studying Law and Economics he attended the University of Wales from 1948 – 1949 and the London School of Economics from 1949 – 1951. Sir John was called to the Bar on August 7, 1951.

Then his political career took off in 1954 when he was appointed to the Executive Council. In 1956 he joined the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and in 1957 he became Minister for Trade and Production. Leaving the SLP in 1961 he teamed up with the People’s Progressive Party and the National Labour Movement to form the United Workers Party (UWP). As Leader of this Party he became Chief Minister in 1964. Sir John then worked hard for the Independence of St. Lucia which was won in 1974. This is no mere narrative of Sir John Compton’s life but an indication of the fact that his outstanding political career was almost coterminous with the evolution of the political system in St. Lucia. It was in this capacity that he became known to the PNC and the Party had the honour and privilege of working with him on challenging national and regional issues. He was well known as a colleague of the Founder Leader, Mr. L.F.S. Burnham.

Independence was not an end in itself, and Sir John fought with vigour to ensure the integration of the English speaking Caribbean in general and the sub-region of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in particular. Because he knew the intricacies of regional politics well and because he was a man of great fluency and erudition, his was a powerful and respected voice in the Councils of the regional integration movement. Indeed, Sir John was to labour throughout his political life in the vineyards of integration and unity.

After he won the elections in May 1982, he was Prime Minister until 1996 when he retired. However in 2005 he was again elected Leader of the UWP and against all odds pulled off a stunning victory in December 2006. Unfortunately in May 2007 Sir John was felled by a stroke which brought an end to his political life and his earthly existence.

The People’s National Congress Reform therefore salutes this man who at various times has been a friend, colleague and partner to the PNC in Government in the common struggle for a united and prosperous Caribbean. The Region has lost one of its great minds and one of its most competent and likeable politicians. In this regard he has laid the foundation for the younger politicians and integrationists to take his country and the Region to a comfortable place of development and prosperity.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Monday, September 10, 2007