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Press Release


  September 11, 2007

The Organization of American States (OAS) expressed its condolences for the death of Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister, Sir John George Melvin Compton, last Friday at the age of 82.

In a letter to Acting Prime Minister Stephenson King, OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, conveyed his and the Organization’s sympathy to the Government and people of Saint Lucia, as well as to the Prime Minister’s family. Sir John Compton was the “Father of the Nation”, he said, praising him as “a visionary, who articulated a model of development that was people centered, for he believed very strongly that the fruits of development must be shared and had by all.”

Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin, who had worked closely with Sir John to try to resolve threats to the consolidation of democratic governance in Haiti and, more recently, in observing Guyana’s presidential elections in August 2006, also expressed his sadness. In particular, Ramdin recalled the important and historic role that Sir John had played in Saint Lucia’s path to nationhood and its development as an island state, as well as his tireless efforts in the interest of regional integration in the Caribbean, especially with regard to the unity of the small states of the Eastern Caribbean.

“Sir John Compton will forever be remembered as a dedicated, sincere and loyal son of the Caribbean, a genuine integrationist, who will be greatly missed,” he said. “He was a highly principled and, at the same time, a very practical politician. He was above all a man of the people, whose every action was guided by humility and an abiding love for his country and his region. The fact that he died in office, when most others would have been enjoying a well-earned retirement, gives you the measure of the man, his energy and his overwhelming sense of duty.”

Sir John was three times leader of Saint Lucia and guided his country to independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. He served as Chief Minister from 1964 to 1979 and as Prime Minister from 1982 to 1996, before coming out of retirement to win the General Election in December last year.

Saint Lucia is now observing a period of national mourning of two weeks and a State Funeral will be held on September 22.

Reference: E-211/07