DOMINICA’S FIRST PRIME MINISTER PATRICK JOHN DIES

From Dominica’s Government Information Services

The First Prime Minister of Dominica, Mr. Patrick Roland John has died.

Mr. John died at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital on Tuesday, July 6 2021 at the age of 83.

Mr. John was the last Premier of Dominica, and it was during his premiership Dominica gained independence from the United Kingdom after which he became the first Prime Minister of Dominica.

Prime Minister of Dominica, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit expressed sympathies with the family of the deceased. He stated that Mr. Patrick John greatly contributed to the development of Dominica.

“It is with sadness that I have learnt of the passing of our first Prime Minister, Patrick Roland John better known as PJ. I therefore wish on behalf of the Government and the people of Dominica and on my own behalf and that of my family, to extend sincere condolences to his wife and his children on their loss. One can say whatever they want about Patrick John but we cannot erase the fact that he made a tremendous contribution to Dominica’s development. There are a number of interventions that he would have done in his tenure as premier and the Prime Minister of Dominica,” Hon. Skerrit stated.

PM Skerrit noted that Mr. John’s legacy will be remembered, going on to add that Government will assume responsibility for the funeral and all related activities.

“He was also at one point the leader of the Dominica Labour party and his contribution to that party will always remain as part of our history and we are really saddened by his death. He was known in sports football particularly, he really has made his contribution. May his soul rest in peace and certainly the Government of Dominica will be responsible for his burial and everything associated with it and at some point the flag will be flown at half-staff,” Prime Minister Skerrit added.

Patrick Roland John was a Prime Minister, parliamentarian, mayor, trade unionist, teacher, and sportsman. He was born in Roseau on January 7 1938 and educated at the Roseau Boys School and the St. Mary’s Academy where he later taught for four years.

He worked as a shipping clerk at H.H.V. Whitchurch & Co. before leaving to organize the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU). He was also elected to the Roseau Town Council and served as Mayor from 1965. 

In 1970 contested the general elections as a member of the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) and won the Roseau North seat, serving in the Le Blanc government at different times as Minister of Communications and Works, Home Affairs, Agriculture and Finance. In 1974 took over the leadership of the DLP from Edward Le Blanc and prepared the party with a new younger look for the general elections of 1975. This he won with a landslide, the DLP capturing 16 of the 21 seats in the House of Assembly. 

Patrick John led the delegation that attended preliminary meetings with the British government and the constitutional conference in London in March and May of 1977. Political independence was achieved on 3 November 1978 and John became the first Prime Minister.

Later in life, Mr. John immersed himself in sports, becoming President of the Dominica Football Association and serving as warden of the St. George’s Anglican Church.

He was bestowed with Dominica’s highest award, The Dominica Award of Honour and Venezuela’s highest honour, The Order of Francisco de Miranda.

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