September 18, 2007
Premier of Nevis Hon Joseph Parry and Cabinet Secretary in the Nevis island Administration Mr Ashley Farrell left Nevis earlier today to join a delegation from the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis who will attend the state funeral of the late Sir John Compton, Former Prime Minister of St. Lucia.
Mr. Parry told the Department of Information moments before he departed from the Charlestown Pier on Tuesday September 18th, 2007 that he would attend the funeral to pay respects on behalf of the people of Nevis and the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) which is an affiliate of the United Workers Party of St. Lucia which Mr. Compton headed since 1964.
“He [Sir John] served many, many years as the Prime Minister of St. Lucia and has been one of the longest serving politicians in the Eastern Caribbean. He started his career in 1954 but more than that Mr. Compton’s Party and the Nevis Reformation Party have been sister parties over the years. Mr Compton has come to two of our conventions and has been the featured speaker. So apart from the fact that he was a Caribbean statesman, there are very fond memories and good support coming from him and his party.
“I must also say the present Prime Minister the Hon. Stephen King I know him very well. He has been here on Nevis several times supporting the Nevis Reformation Party, so I feel it is my duty and obligation to attend the funeral to pay my respects and on behalf of the people of Nevis and I will also pay my respects for the Cabinet of the Nevis island Administration,” he said.
The funeral service will take place at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception today at 1pm. followed by a private burial service.
According to a tribute to Sir John, on the Caribbean Community Secretariat website, He became a member of the Legislative Council and an avid and vocal champion of the working class particularly sugar plantation labour in 1954.
Disillusioned over the outcome of efforts to secure the promise of a better life for workers under the St. Lucia Labour Party formed a new political alliance, the United Workers Party under whose banner he championed and won the 1964 elections to become St. Lucia’s Chief Minister.
From that point, he progressed to the position of Premier and finally Prime Minister. He was perceived as the liberator of his nation and propelled it into modernity with major reconstruction of its social and economic base.
Modernisation of St. Lucia’s utilities, reform of the social sector and a radical programme for rural development, were the hallmarks of his political career.
“Sir John’s deep and unswerving commitment to regional unity was a constant of his tenure on the Region’s political stage. He was a pillar of the regional integration movement and participated in many of the institutions that gave birth to and shaped the current form of the Caribbean Community.
“His enthusiasm for a system of regional unity was evident by his support for and involvement in the West Indies Federation and the creation of the Caribbean Free Trade Areas (CARIFTA).
“Sir John’s legacy to the Region’s development is marked by the role he played in the establishment of key Caribbean institutions, including CARICOM, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the West Indies Association States Council of Ministers (WISA), the Eastern Caribbean Common Market (ECCM), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS),” the tribute said.