The Caribbean region has been privileged to have a long list of distinguished and dedicated Prime Ministers. Many of them, though advanced in age, still did not hesitate to serve. They worked tirelessly for their home countries.
Oftentimes, the Prime Ministers also double as the ceremonial head of their party. Therefore, parties ensure to throw their weight behind the candidates they believe have the best credentials and experience to steer the economy and policy successfully.
The list of long-serving Prime Ministers also features many women. Women can sure handle the power! People like Janet Jagan, Eugenia Charles, and Portia Simpson Miller were successful past women prime ministers of Caribbean islands.
They give us the belief that women can take charge when needed. Perhaps it is time to start thinking of more Caribbean women Prime Ministers. Perhaps Caribbean countries would be better served if they have women Prime Ministers.
11. Mia Armor Mottley
Mia Amor Mottley was born on October 1st, 1965. She is the eighth Prime Minister of Barbados and the first woman to hold the position. She is also the leader of the Barbados Labour party.
She was a two-time leader of the opposition in the House of Assembly of Barbados. In 2018, her party won a landslide victory securing all the 30 seats in the House of Assembly.
Mottley first joined politics in 1991. She lost an election to Leroy Brathwaite. Between 1991 and 1994, she was one of the opposition senators in the house. She was also minister of culture and Community Development.
She has also served in many parliamentary committees, including the committee looking into domestic violence.
She also has a portfolio as the minister of finance. In May 2018, Mottley found out the financial obligations of the state. That the new government inherited a large debt. When the information about the indebtedness situation was disclosed, it increased the debt-to-GDP ratio. She demonstrates the hard work and bravery required to thrive in such a sensitive position.
10. Dr. Kenny Davis Anthony
Kenny Davis Anthony was born on 8th January 1951. He is a politician from Saint Lucia. He was the leader of the opposition party from 2006 to 2011. Following the 2011 election, he returned as Prime Minister in November 2011.
Kenny Anthony taught for many years at the University of the West Indies. He was appointed head of the Caribbean justice Department in 1993. In 1996, he won elections as a leader within the Labor Party. He also served as a consultant with the United Nations development program.
9. Eugenia Charles
Mary Eugenia Charles was born in Dominica in 1919. She was the first lawyer in Dominica and the only female Prime Minister on that Caribbean Island.
Dissatisfaction with the level of reconstruction after a Hurricane stirred Ms. Charles to lead a political campaign. She ran in the 1980 general elections and secured victory. This is how she got elected as Prime Minister and held the position for 15 years.
During her tenure, she earned the title of “Iron Lady of the Caribbean.” This was mainly due to her dedication and commitment to set principles and fearlessness in voicing her opinions despite opposition.
As one of the female Prime Ministers, Eugenia played a key role in introducing programs to reform the economy. She was also chairman of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and in that capacity, she encouraged the us-led invasion of Grenada in 1983.
8. Sir John G.M Compton
Sir George Melvin Compton was born in 1925. He served as the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia on three occasions. Sir Compton joined the St. Lucia Labor party under the leadership of Sir George Charles in 1953. However, the educational difference between them brought tension, leading to a leadership tussle between them both.
This made Sir John leave the party in 1954, but he rejoined in 1957. During his political career, Sir Compton had close brushes with death a number of times which he miraculously escaped. His refusal to show any fear in the face of danger made him a legend of some sort in Saint Lucia.
He utilized his popularity to convince the Bosquet brothers Alan and Joseph to leave the Labour Party and form the united workers’ party in 1964. In his opinion, the labor party was backward in its social and economic programs for the country.
7. Roosevelt Skerrit
Roosevelt Skerrit was born on the 8th of June, 1972. He has been the Prime Minister of Dominica since 2004. He has also served as a member of Parliament for the Vielle Case constituency since 2000. He was also the chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in 2010. At the time of his election, Skerrit was the youngest head of government, overtaking Joseph Kabila of Congo.
However, Skerrit came under investigation over a case involving a Chinese billionaire Ng Seng, who the FBI arrested. There were reports that the Chinese billionaire persuaded Skerrit to drop diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China.
6. Sir James F. Mitchell
Sir James Mitchell was born May 15th, 1931. He entered politics in 1966 and won legislative seats as a candidate of the labor party. In 1967 he became the minister of agriculture. He also served as the minister of Finance in Foreign Affairs in 1984.
Sir James Mitchel retired as Prime minister in 2000. However, he remained a senior minister until 2001. He was also an international observer in the first democratic elections in Nicaragua in 1990. He performed numerous humanitarian ventures and helped instill democracy in many countries.
Sir James had an interest in agriculture and extended his horizon beyond the borders of his native country. He delivered the opening address at the first Caribbean Agricultural Technology Conference (CATC) in 2000.
He made efforts to revive the regional Banana industry as he noted that many sectors of society in Grenada relied on the banana industry. HE influenced and ensured incentives were given to farmers to promote banana plantation and diversification efforts.
He made land reforms, allocating land to the landless, and ensured improved productivity and market opportunity. In addition to his political duties, Sir Mitchel had an interest also in writing. He published articles and books on agriculture—curious facts on fungicide usage in land Reform and Caribbean society’s problems.
5. Dr. Eric E. Williams
Dr. Eric Eustace Williams served as the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. Born on 25th September 1911, Dr. Williams was a notable Caribbean historian. He served as Prime Minister from 1962 until he died in 1981. He died while in active service.
Dr. Willliams was appointed to the Anglo-American Caribbean Commission in 1944. In 1948, he became the Deputy Chairman of the Caribbean Research Council. On his return to Trinidad, he delivered a series of lectures, which made him famous. Sir Williams gave public lectures at Woodford Square in Port of Spain. His lectures were on several aspects of the world that he deemed beneficial to the people.
He spoke about world history, Greek democracy and philosophy, Caribbean history, and the origin of slavery. Each lecture drew large audiences that cut across every social class.
After adopting a resolution by the governing council in 1962, Sir Williams withdrew Trinidad and Tobago from the West Indies federation. This made the British Government dissolve the federation.
4. Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves
Ralph Everard Gonsalves Was born in 1946. He is currently the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. He became Prime Minister after his party won in the 2001 elections. Gonsalves joined politics while he was at the university. In 1968, he led a student protest against the deportation of Walter Rodney by the Jamaican government.
In 1994, he became the deputy leader of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Labor party. Subsequently, he became the leader of the party in 1998 after Vincent Beach resigned. That same year, Gonsalves led the Unity Labor party to victory in the general election. He won by the narrowest of margins.
3. Sir Lynden Pindling
Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling is known as the “Father of the Nation” of the Bahamas. He was born on 22nd March 1930 in the Bahamas. In 1967, He became the first Prime Minister.
Six years later, he oversaw their independence from Britain. Pindling guided the Bahamas through years of booming tourism and economic growth and got re-elected five times. His rule came to an end when he and his party were defeated at the polls in 1992.
At the time, the country was in a state of economic downturn. Also, there were allegations of corruption and taking of bribes from drug traffickers. He resigned as leader of the opposition in 1997 and retired from politics. Sir Lynden Pindling was knighted in 1983.
2. Dr. Denzil Douglas
Denzil Douglas is the longest-serving Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis. He was born in January 1953. He occupied the Prime Minister role from 1995 to 2015. Denzil Douglas was elected in the National Assembly of St. Kitts and Nevis in 1989, and He was made an opposition leader.
Since he left office as the Prime Minister in 2015, he has been involved in many scandals. The latest involves his possession of a foreign diplomatic passport. This violates St. Kitts and Nevis’ constitution.
In 2014, Denzil Douglas was investigated for being involved in illicit financial activity. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) gave an advisory to alert financial institutions that some people abused the investment program’s Citizenship.
The anti-corruption body alleged that the Douglas administration cooperated with certain foreign individuals to secure SKN passports.
As a result of this, the individuals were able to evade tax sanctions. As a result of these allegations, the United States revoked his visa.
1. Dr. Deith Mitchell
Keith Claudius Mitchell was born on November 12, 1946. As a cricket lover, Dr. Mitchell was a member of the Grenada cricket team between 1964 and 1966.
He was made Captain of the Grenada cricket team. He was a professor of Mathematics. He taught at Howard University between 1977 and 1983.
He started a consulting firm in Washington, D.C., consulting for many Government departments and private corporations in the United States.