Caribbean region mourns death of former St. Vincent Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell
The leaders of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) offered their sincere condolences to the family of Sir James Mitchell, the second Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, who died of illness on Tuesday. He was 90 years old.
President of the regional integration group of 15 members and Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne said he had telephoned his counterpart from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves to convey to him the condolences of the region on the occasion of the death of one of their emblematic figures.
Browne recalled that Sir James had served for 16 years as Prime Minister and during this period was an active regionalist, promoting several initiatives for deepening integration in the region.
Prime Minister Browne also noted that Sir James had been an active supporter of the idea of a political union of the countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in the early 1980s.
“The region has lost a true champion of our integration into CARICOM and an important figure in promoting the region’s causes within the global community. We join the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, in particular the people of Bequia Island where he was born and where he spent his happiest times, ”said Prime Minister Brown.
The Saint Lucia-based OECS Commission said that in his capacity as Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sir James had also been a member of the OECS Authority and chairman of the group of nine members in 1988, 1995, and 1996.
“He proudly defended the OECS and will forever be listed in the pantheon of great historical figures in our region. One of Sir James’ most notable moments was the 25th meeting of the OECS Authority in 1995, when he championed the idea of Barbados inclusion as President, signaling his aspiration ambitious to the expansion of the Caribbean family, ”said OECS Director General Dr. Didacus Jules, describing Sir James as one of the oldest pillars of regional integration.
The OECS said that to mark this solemn occasion, the OECS flag will be lowered.
The government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has said “as a sign of respect, all state flags will be hoisted at half mast” until Thursday and the day of the funeral.
“Sir James will be entitled to a state funeral, details of which will be provided in a later announcement,” the statement said.
Sir James, who represented the constituency of the Northern Grenadines for over 33 years, was Prime Minister from 1984 to 2000. He was also Prime Minister from 1972 to 1974 and was the founder and chairman of the main opposition party , the New Democratic Party (NDP). .
“The government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines takes this opportunity to express its sincere condolences to the family of the late Sir James Fitz-Allen Mitchell,” the statement said.