James Fitz-Allen Mitchell


November 30, 2021

Sir James Fitz-Allen Mitchell, born May 15, 1931 in Bequia and died November 23, 2021 in the same city, is a Vincentian agronomist, hotelier and politician, head of government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to two repeated from April 14, 1972 to December 8, 1974, then from July 30, 1984 to October 27, 2000. He is the founder of the New Democratic Party in 1975. He served one of the longest terms in Caribbean history as head of government.


James Fitz-Allen Mitchell was born on May 15, 1931 in Bequia. His father, a merchant navy captain, died at sea when James Mitchell was nine years old. He completed his secondary studies at St. Vincent Grammar School, which he completed with a course in agronomy at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture and then at the University of British Columbia. After his studies, he worked in Saint Lucia in the cocoa industry in 1957, then as head of agricultural research in Saint-Vincent from 1958 to 1961. From 1962 to 1964, he taught science in the United Kingdom. He then became editor-in-chief of Pest control, a publication of the British Department for Overseas Development. It was during his stay in England that he married Patricia Mae Mitchell, his first wife. In 1966, he was first elected to the Legislative Council in the general elections under the label of the Labor Party of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for the constituency of the Grenadines and he was reelected in the 1967 elections. however quickly separated from the government of Milton Cato to sit as independent. In the 1972 elections, he was again elected from the Grenadines constituency as independent, while Milton Cato's Labor Party and Ebenezer Joshua's Popular Political Party each obtained six elected representatives. Mitchell then made an alliance with the PPP and became Prime Minister in 1972. Become head of government, and also owner of a hotel on Bequia, Mitchell announces at the Annual Congress of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (in) in September 1972 that he wants to develop tourism. In a speech entitled To Hell with Paradise he proposes to build “an integrated and indigenous tourism”. On September 18, 1974, a vote of no confidence caused the fall of his government and elections were held on December 9, 1974. The Labor Party of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines then won ten seats out of thirteen, but Mitchell was reelected as representative. of the Grenadines. On December 3, 1975, James Mitchell founded the New Democratic Party. He led his party in the 1979 elections, but suffered a severe defeat by winning only two out of thirteen and Mitchel himself lost his seat. But, the candidate elected to the Grenadines, CE Cozier, resigned shortly after the elections and in the by-election of June 23, 1980, Mitchell obtained 1742 votes against 584 for his competitor of the SVLP and returned to the Assembly and again became the leader of the opposition. In 1984, the NDP won the election with nine out of thirteen elected, and Mitchell became the second Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. During his tenure, the country faced economic difficulties. In 1979 Soufriere erupted, damaging agriculture and tourism, then in 1980 Hurricane Allen severely damaged the banana agro-industry. In addition, the recession in the United States and the fall of the British pound against the dollar are reducing tourist arrivals and banana exports. His government made road construction a priority, as it was necessary for the development of the tourism industry, which had overtaken bananas as the country's main industry. Under his leadership, the economy improved steadily, with a reorganization of the

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