Denzil Douglas

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The Right Honourable
Denzil Douglas
Denzil L Douglas.jpg
Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 July 1995
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General Clement Arrindell
Cuthbert Sebastian
Edmund Lawrence
Preceded by Kennedy Simmonds
Personal details
Born (1953-01-14) 14 January 1953 (age 61)
Saint Paul Capisterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis
Political party Saint Kitts and Nevis Labour Party
Alma mater University of the West Indies

Denzil Llewellyn Douglas (born 14 January 1953) is the Prime Minister of the twin-island Caribbean nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Minister of Finance, Sustainable Development, Human Resources Development, Constituency Empowerment and Social Security. He represents residents of St. Christopher #6 (which comprises the communities of Newton Ground, St. Pauls, Dieppe Bay, Parsons, Saddlers and Harris') as their Member of Parliament (MP).[1]

Dr. Douglas is a former high school teacher and avid sports enthusiast. He has an impressive record of community service including leadership of the 4H movement. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in 1977 and his medical degree with honours from the University of the West Indies in Jamaica in 1984. When he returned to Saint Kitts after qualifying as a medical doctor he opened private/family practice in 1986. He has served as President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Medical Association.[1]

Dr. Douglas was the first Young Labour Representative to sit on the National Executive of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (which was established in 1935). He was elected as Deputy Chairman of the Party in 1987. Two years later, in 1989, he ran for public office and was elected for the first time as a Member of Parliament for St. Christopher #6, serving the communities of Newton Ground, St. Pauls, Dieppe Bay, Parsons, Saddlers and Harris'.[1]

Following the island's general election of 1989 and his ascension to Parliament, Dr. Douglas was appointed Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. Soon after, he was elected National Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party.[2]

In the 1993 general election held on 29 November, Douglas successfully led the Labour Party to win an outright majority popular vote but due to outdated electoral boundaries the near two thirds majority popular vote only secured 4 of the 8 seats in St. Kitts while the remaining 3 seats (out of 11 total) on Nevis were taken between two minority parties. The Governor General swore in a Government that only commanded the support of 5 out of the 11 seats. Labour, which had received the majority popular vote, with its 4 seats, along with 2 from Nevis, as the majority elected seated in Opposition, were totally ignored.[1]

Political career[edit]

1995 general election[edit]

After 19 months of civil disobedience in protest of the minority seat and minority popular vote government, Prime Minister Kennedy Simmonds dissolved the legislature and elections were held three years early on 4 July 1995. Dr. Douglas' Labour Party strengthened its support and won 6 of the 8 seats on St. Kitts and for the first time of the nation's history since Independence in 1983, Denzil Douglas formed a Labour Government ending a span of four successive coalition governments.[1]

The 42-year-old Denzil Llewellyn Douglas became St. Kitts and Nevis' youngest Prime Minister since Independence.[1]

Leadership election[edit]

Since the Labour Party victory in the July 1995 general election, Denzil Douglas has been re-elected National Leader of the Party every year for the single year term.[3]

2000 general election[edit]

The general election of 2000 resulted in Labour, led by Denzil Douglas, winning the largest number of seats (8) in the island's 11-seat legislature even unseating the former Prime Minister Kennedy Simmonds and electing a woman (Jacinth Henry Martin) to the Labour Cabinet.[4] Douglas was sworn in as Prime Minister for a second term.[1]

2004 general election[edit]

The general election of 2004 resulted in Labour, again led by Denzil Douglas, winning a majority 7 seats in the island's legislature. Douglas was sworn in as Prime Minister for a third term.[1]

New electoral framework[edit]

In 2007, Douglas as Minister responsible for elections, piloted through a new election law, introducing for the first time in the young nation's 20-year history, voter identification cards. Attempts to revise the electoral boundaries were met with legal protest by the Opposition and were not successful.

2010 general election[edit]

The general election of 2010 resulted in Labour, led by Denzil Douglas, now 57, securing a historic fourth term as Prime Minister of a Labour government with a majority of 6 seats with another female Member of Parliament on the governing Labour bench and 50% of the Labour Representatives being new faces compared to the 1995 Labour government.[1]

Successfully reducing the national debt by 50%[edit]

In February 2012, Douglas as Minister of Finance launched a debt restructuring strategy which has resulted in the slashing of the debt-to-GDP ratio from 200% to under 100% achieved through a combination of strategies including a debt/land swap, debt forgiveness, and debt exchange with bond holders.[5] In 2013, Douglas lead a high-level group of Commonwealth Ministers to Washington DC from 7 to 8 October to meet heads of leading international financial institutions to make a case for the urgent need to address the debt and financing challenges of small states.[6] Following those meetings, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Sharma held a joint Press Conference with Douglas to make major announcements regarding the meetings of the high-level grouping.[7] In its 2014 World Development Report, the World Bank ranked Saint Kitts and Nevis as having the 4th highest GDP per capita in the Caribbean.[8]

International recognition and awards[edit]

Dr. Douglas has made history by being the first Caribbean Leader to receive the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Peace Award and was also honoured as an outstanding graduate of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and is the recipient of a Legacy Award from the American Foundation of the University of the West Indies in New York. The Republic of China on Taiwan and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela recently decorated Prime Minister Douglas with the Order of Brilliant Star with Special Grand Cordon and the Order of the Liberator (First Class) respectively. In November 2005, Prime Minister Douglas was presented with a plaque by prominent United States Congressman, the Hon. Charles Rangel for distinguished and unblemished record of service to humanity and for his leadership and tireless, progressive contributions to his country and to the entire Caribbean Community. In 2007, Dr. Douglas received the Special Global Award at the Trumpet Awards in Las Vegas, USA. In 2011 he was appointed a Privy Counsellor which bestowed him the title of "Right Honourable."[9][dead link][10] In September 2013, Dr. Douglas received a South South News Award.[11]

HIV & AIDS[edit]

In 2002, Douglas approached former US President Bill Clinton at an International AIDS Conference in Spain and asked Clinton for help contending with astronomical prices for ART drugs making it almost impossible to make medicine available to the citizens of the island. Douglas' plea to the Clinton Foundation resulted in the creation of innovative systems to dramatically lower the cost of ART drugs.[11][12] In 2013, former US President Bill Clinton, at a meeting of the Clinton Foundation's Global Initiative, invited Douglas onto stage and publicly lauded and credited Douglas for his initiating the process which has led to the lowering of the cost for anti retro viral drugs.[13][14] Today, Douglas is the Prime Ministerial spokesman for HIV/AIDS and other health related matters in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) quasi Cabinet.

Laptops for high school students[edit]

As part of his party’s educational reform, Douglas announced in 2011 that the OLPC (One Laptop per Child) program would extend to all high school students. Sponsored by Taiwan, the program is aimed at empowering students and enhancing their knowledge and creativity. The government of Taiwan handed out 2000 laptops to Douglas for distribution to the island-country’s high school students. This marked one among the many collaborations between the governments of both countries, including plans to develop an agro-tourism park in St. Kitts and a solar panel pilot project.[15]

Implementing a renewable energy-fueled economy[edit]

Prime Minister Douglas promised in his 2010 Election manifesto that his Government would pursue various renewable energy initiatives to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels. In June 2013, Douglas opened the first solar panel manufacturing plant in Saint Kitts and in the Caribbean.[16] In September 2013, Saint Kitts and Nevis' main airport began having 100% of their electricity needs satisfied by solar generated electricity. A 1-megawatt solar farm was commissioned at the island's Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport facility, providing electricity to the island's only International Airport.[17] This development has attracted International Press coverage.[18] In November, members from the Clinton Foundation are scheduled to visit Prime Minister Douglas to sign-off on technical assistance to develop base load geothermal-sourced electricity supply. A study by the Organization of American States looked at the feasibility to supply 300 to 400 megawatts of electricity to Puerto Rico by way of a submarine cable from Saint Kitts and Nevis.[19] This study has attracted the attention of the White House.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i charles.jong@cuopm.com. "Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, Prime Minister". cuopm.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  2. ^ disseminateit@gmail.com. "St. Kitts News Source - The Labour Spokesman". labourspokesman.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  3. ^ disseminateit@gmail.com. "Labour Party - Home Page". sknlabourparty.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  4. ^ "Jacinth Henry-Martin | LinkedIn". linkedin.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  5. ^ charles.jong@cuopm.com. "St. Kitts and Nevis slashes national debt in half". cuopm.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  6. ^ charles.jong@cuopm.com. "St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister leads Commonw". cuopm.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  7. ^ "IMF Videos - Press Briefing: Commonwealth Finance Ministers". imf.org. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  8. ^ "World Development Report - WDR 2014". econ.worldbank.org. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  9. ^ "Prime Minister Douglas appointed to Her Majesty’s Privy Council". Office of the Prime Minister. Saint Kitts and Nevis. November 18, 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2011. 
  10. ^ JCPC (1995). "Privy Council Members". Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  11. ^ a b charles.jong@cuopm.com. "PM Douglas gets award for "visionary leadership i". cuopm.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  12. ^ "Giving Hype or Giving Hope? | Excellence in Philanthropy | The Philanthropy Roundtable". philanthropyroundtable.org. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  13. ^ "YouTube - President Bill Clinton Lauds Denzil Douglas". youtube.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  14. ^ charles.jong@cuopm.com. "Former U.S. president Bill Clinton showers praise". cuopm.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  15. ^ "Taiwan Begins Laptop Programme for Students in St Kitts and Nevis". caribjournal.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  16. ^ charles.jong@cuopm.com. "Opening of solar panel factory is crucial path to". cuopm.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  17. ^ "New Solar Farm in St. Kitts and Nevis Completed | Government of SKN". gov.kn. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  18. ^ "St. Kitts goes solar at ports - Travel Weekly". travelweekly.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  19. ^ "OAS ::  :: Saint Kitts and Nevis". oas.org. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Kennedy Simmonds
Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis
1995–present
Incumbent