Media Center

Press Release


  October 15, 2007

The Organization of American States (OAS) on Sunday joined the community of Saint Lucians and other Caribbean nationals and friends in Washington in stirring remembrances of Sir John Compton, the Saint Lucian Prime Minister who died last month. Compton was remembered as much for the passion with which he served Saint Lucia, the Caribbean and the international community, as for his dignity and remarkable humility.

Saint Lucia’s Embassy and Permanent Mission to the OAS organized the memorial service in conjunction with the Saint Lucian Association of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Officiating was Antigua-born Rev. Canon Kortright Davis, of the Holy Comforter Episcopal Church where the service was held.

OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, in a message delivered to the guests by the Organization’s Executive Secretary for Integral Development Alfonso Quiñonez, described the late leader as “a true and wise statesman, not only of Saint Lucia and the Caribbean but of our shared hemisphere.” The Secretary General noted that the passing of this great statesman “opens the door for reflection on his legacy and a renewed commitment to fulfilling his desire for a unified Caribbean.”

Representing the government, Dr. Keith Mondesir, Saint Lucia’s Minister of Health, Wellness, Family Affairs, National Mobilization, Human Services and Gender Relations, spoke of Compton’s leadership on national development issues. A hardworking man of vision, he was “good at seeing the invisible,” Mondesir said of John George Melvin Compton, who led Saint Lucia into independence and development with an emphasis on education. “His vision has brought us where we are today in Saint Lucia.”

Clenie Greer-Lacascade, Saint Lucia’s Interim Representative to the OAS, said John Compton loved and served the people of Saint Lucia with passion and dedication. “When history records his many achievements (social, economic, political and other) it is hoped that the two virtues, simplicity and humility—which so embodied the essence of the man that was John George Melvin Compton—shall continue to resonate,” she remarked.

Barbados’ Ambassador Michael King, Chairman of the CARICOM Caucus of Ambassadors in Washington, said that Prime Minister Compton’s death was not just a tragic loss for the people of Saint Lucia but also for the CARICOM family of nations. King added: “As a visionary, Sir John’s respect for the democratic ideals was a part of his life that he dedicated not only to Saint Lucia but also to all Caribbean people.” Former Saint Lucian Ambassador Joseph Edmunds read poetry he wrote in tribute to Compton, and also offered first-hand recollections of his friend. “I was marveled at his telescopic vision beyond 20/20—if this is possible. And yet his microscopic deliberations embracing every community on the island and their needs for the present and the future,” Edmunds declared of the “architect of modern Saint Lucia.”

Reference: E-260/07