Obituary: John Melville Compton, 82, Prime Minister of St. Lucia

John Melville Compton, the 82-year-old prime minister of St. Lucia, died in a hospital in Castries, St. Lucia on Sept. 7.

Compton first became chief minister of the then-colony of St. Lucia in 1964.

Three years later, he initiated negotiations for more autonomy from Britain and became St. Lucia's first prime minister upon independence in 1979, and led the country again from 1982 to 1996.

He came out of retirement in 2005 and, last December, defeated former Prime Minister Kenny Anthony's bid for a third five-year term. However, Compton did not resume leadership duties after suffering a series of mild strokes in late April and Stephenson King became acting prime minsiter.

A lawyer and vocal champion of the working class, Compton was known as the "Father of the Nation of St. Lucia."

George deMercado, Air Jamaica's vice president of sales, described Compton as "a true Caribbean visionary who has left an indelible mark in Caribbean history and provided a roadmap for the sustainable development of St. Lucia."

Allen Chastanet, minister of tourism, said that Compton's "humility and absolute loyalty to the development of St. Lucia and its people are unquestionable."

King said that St. Lucia would observe two weeks of mourning.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Gay Nagle Myers at [email protected].


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