STATEMENT BY PREMIER
HONOURABLE ANDREW A. FAHIE
ON PASSING OF SIR JAMES MITCHELL
FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
Today I was saddened to learn of the passing of The Right Honourable Sir James Fitz-Allen Mitchell, KCMG, PC, former Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, at the grand age of 90. Over the course of his long and distinguished political career, Sir James made tremendous contributions to achieving the political independence, economic stability and growth and development of his beloved country of birth.
Sir James was first elected to Parliament in 1966 as the St. Vincent Labour Party's representative for the Grenadines and subsequently served as Premier of St. Vincent from 1972 to 1974 as an independent in the Alliance Government. After the elections of 1974, he served as an Opposition Member of Parliament until July 1984. Earlier, in 1975, he founded the New Democratic Party (NDP) that became a force in the country’s politics.
During his first 13 years in Parliament, Sir James was among the Independence-era politicians, who worked to achieve the independence of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines from the United Kingdom that was achieved on 27 October, 1979. He later became the second Prime Minister of the nation in July 1984 and served until October 2001.
Sir James maintained a keen interest in agriculture as a trained Agronomist and helped to create the Caribbean Agricultural Regional Development Institute (CARDI). He was passionate about the empowerment of citizens as food producers to feed themselves and their country, and this was reflected in his policy positions. His appeal at the 1st Caribbean Agricultural Technology Conference in 2000, “Agriculture must thrive”, remains relevant today more than ever.
Sir James was also an ardent supporter of regional integration in the Caribbean, and advocated for unity and cooperation among the people of the region as critically important for their mutual development in an increasingly globalised world.
Sir James stepped down as Chairman of the NDP in 2000 ahead of officially retiring from electoral politics the following year. He subsequently became a member of the Interaction Council of former Presidents and Prime Ministers.
In recognition of his outstanding service to the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sir James was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1995.
The bonds of friendship between the people of the British Virgin Islands and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines remains strong and together we mourn the loss of one of the region’s great leaders.
On behalf of the Government and people of the Virgin Islands, I extend deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sir James and the Government and people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.