By CAW Editorial Staff
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent: Sir James Fitz-Allen Mitchell passed away on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, at the age of 90. He was born in Bequia on May 15, 1931. Sir James’ death has ended an era in the history of SVG, as he was the last surviving Parliamentarian at the time of Independence on October 27, 1979.
Sir James initially entered politics in 1966 by winning a legislative seat as a St Vincent Labor Party candidate. He was the Minister of Agriculture from 1967 to 1972. After serving as the second Premier of St Vincent from 1972 to 1974, he founded the New Democratic Party (NDP) in 1975. The party, which is now the opposition, is headed by Godwin Friday. He later became the second Prime Minister of St Vincent, from 1984 to 2000.
Response to his Passing
In an immediate response to his death, the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), which Sir James founded in 1979, issued the following statement on his passing: “We are saddened to hear the news that the founder of the New Democratic Party Sir James Mitchell has passed away. He was one of the founding fathers of our nation and served as the second Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines from 1984 to 2000, as well as premier to St. Vincent and the Grenadines from 1972 to 1974.”
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) says it has noted with ‘profound regret’ the passing of former Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Sir James Mitchell.
In a message to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, CARICOM Secretary-General Dr. Carla Barnett extended condolences to the Government and People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Sir James’ family. “The Region has lost a true stalwart of integration…May he rest in peace”, the Secretary-General said. “He was a one-of-a-kind leader who became Premier in the most unique way,” Dr. Barnett noted, adding that he proceeded to make an indelible mark on the development of his country and the Community. “Sir James was an ardent integrationist and fully supported the initiatives of both the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and CARICOM,” the Secretary-General noted. An agronomist by training, Sir James was involved in forming the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI).
Reflecting on the former Prime Minister’s esteemed tenure, Dr. Didacus Jules, OECS Director General, lauded Sir James as one of the elder stalwarts of regional integration. “He proudly championed the OECS and will forever be enshrined in the pantheon of the historic greats of our region. One of Sir James’s most notable moments was at the 25th Meeting of the OECS Authority in 1995, when he championed as Chairman the idea of the inclusion of Barbados, signaling his ambitious aspiration for the expansion of the Caribbean family.”
An official statement from the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines read: Sir James will be accorded a State Funeral, details of which will be provided in a subsequent announcement. As a mark of respect, all flags throughout the State will be flown at half-mast from Tuesday, November 23, 2021, to Thursday, November 25, 2021, and on the day of the funeral. The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines takes this opportunity to extend sincere condolences to the family of the late Sir James Fitz-Allen Mitchell.
Photo Credit: OECS Press Room