St. Vincentian agronomist, hotel businessman, and politician
prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines 1972-1974, 1984-2000
Sir James F. Mitchell
In 1994 Sir James F. Mitchell was elected to his third, and final, five-year term as prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
He was the second prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
In 1998 general elections Mitchell's NDP was voted in for a fourth term. The unity Labour Party polled 4,000 more votes than the NDP but failed to gain a parliamentary majority by just one seat (holding 7 of the 15 seats). Labour alleged widespread fraud, bribery, and intimidation, and threatened to take action unless there was a new vote. Mitchell remained in power.
Sir James Mitchell is the eldest of four children from a seafaring family from the Grenadines Island of Bequia.
Sir James was born on May 15th, 1931. At age 9, tragedy struck his family when his father, a sea captain, disappeared aboard the vessel "Gloria Colita" in the Bermuda Triangle.
Sir James received his secondary education at St. Vincent's Grammar school, following which he pursued studies at the imperial college of Tropical agriculture, Trinidad, and the University of British Colombia, Canada.
Having successfully completed his studies in Agronomy, Sir James Mitchell worked as a cocoa agronomist in St. Lucia in 1957. He worked as Agriculture Research officer from 1958 to 1961 in SVG. From 1962 to 1964, he lectured in science at various schools in the United Kingdom. He later became technical editor of "pest control" - a British Government Publication from the department of Overseas Development.
On deciding that he was home for good, Sir James began his hotel operations.
Sir James was first elected to parliament in 1966 as the St. Vincent Labour Party's representative for the Grenadines. He was re-elected the following year. In 1972, he successfully contested in the general elections as an independent Candidate. With the election ending in a 6-6 draw between the SVLP (St .Vincent Labour Party) and the PPP (People's Political Party), Sir James an independent candidate struck a deal with the PPP's Leader E.T Joshua and became premier under the Alliance government.
Two years later, the SVLP regained power when they won ten seats at the general elections. In December 1975, Sir James founded the New Democratic Party (NDP). He was an opposition Member of Parliament from 1975 until 1984 when he lead his party to a 10-3 victory over the SVLP.
Sir James at age 53 became his countries 2nd prime Minister. In 1985, Sir James was appointed a member of her Majesty Privy Council because of his professional approach to government leadership. Four years later, Sir James party made history when it swept all 15 parliamentary seats in the General Election. In 1984, his party was again returned to power for a third consecutive terms when it won 12 of 15 seats.
By Jeronnie Richardson
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