Stephenson King

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Stephenson King
Stephenson King.jpg
Prime Minister of Saint Lucia
In office
1 May 2007 – 30 November 2011
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General Pearlette Louisy
Preceded by John Compton
Succeeded by Kenny Anthony
Personal details
Born (1958-11-13) 13 November 1958 (age 55)
Castries, Saint Lucia
Political party United Worker's Party
Spouse(s) Rosella Nestor

Stephenson King (born 13 November 1958 in Castries, Saint Lucia[1]) was the sixth Prime Minister of Saint Lucia. He is the son of Grafton King; a renowned seaman, from Canouan, St.Vincent and Marie Bernadette Satney, a seamstress from the village of Choiseul. He represents the constituency of Castries North for the United Workers Party (UWP) in the House of Assembly of Saint Lucia.[2] Although himself reelected in his constituency, his UWP party suffered defeat in the 28 November 2011 general elections.

Education and pre-politics employment[edit]

His early infant and primary education was attained at the Methodist Infant and Primary Schools. Later he gained entry into the Seventh Day Adventist Academy, where he pursued his secondary level studies. Following the completion of his secondary education, King gained employment at the former St. Lucia Co-operative Bank Ltd (now 1st National Bank St. Lucia Ltd), where he served for two and a half years. He resigned in 1981 to accept an offer from the law firm of Floissac and Giraudy, where he served for seven years as Accountant, Trade Marks Clerk/Paralegal.

Political career[edit]

In 1981 following the inaugural youth conference of the United Workers Party, King was elected the President of the Party’s Youth Arm. In 1982 after having actively participated in the election campaign of that year he was appointed a City Councilor of the Castries City Council and a Board Member of the St. Lucia Housing Authority, serving in both capacities for 5 years. During that period he also formed and became the founding President of the Rotaract Club of Saint Lucia, resigning in 1987 when he entered elective politics.

Stephenson entered the political fray on the island when he was nominated as the candidate for the Castries North-East Constituency. In the first election on 6 April 1987 he got 2,411 votes against former Prime Minister Michael Pilgrim of the St Lucia Labour Party 1772 and Oswald Augustin of the Progressive Labour Party received 846 votes. In the second election on April 30, 1987 he polled 2,731 votes to Pilgrim's 2,549 votes and Augustin's 375 votes. He was then appointed as a Cabinet Minister, serving as the Minister for Community Development, Social Affairs, Youth, Sports, and local Government.

He faced the electorate again in 1992 against lawyer Wilkie Larcher of the St Lucia Labour Party. He was able to register a bigger victory this time polling 3,511 to Larcher's 2,009. Following the election he was appointed to the Cabinet as the Minister for Health, Local Government, Information and Broadcasting.

He would succumb in the tumultuous defeat of the United Worker's Party in the 1997 election where he was defeated by George Odlum on a St Lucia Labour Party ticket. The results of the election show Odlum overcoming the incumbent 3960 to 2604, the lowest number of votes King would ever gain in an election. He took a nine year sabbatical from elective politic although remaining Chairman of the party for most of this period.

Following a short-lived struggle between himself and Cybelle Cenac for that right King received the endorsement of the United Workers Party in 2006 to contest the General Elections as the Candidate for Castries North. He would defeat the sitting Minister of Agriculture at the polls, which also saw his United Worker's Party return to office.

The UWP won a majority of seats in the 2006 election, and a new government under Compton was sworn in on 19 December 2006. King was named Minister for Health and Labour Relations.[3]

Compton's illness in May 2007 prompted King to be named Acting Prime Minister. In a cabinet reshuffle in early June 2007, he became Minister of Finance (inclusive of International Financial Services), External Affairs, Home Affairs, National Security, Labor, Information and Broadcasting.[4] In an ironic twist, King assumed the mantle while a few months earlier he had been seen as a Lewis loyalist in the party's leadership race.

Compton died on 7 September 2007, and King announced his death on 8 September.[5]

King was subsequently sworn in as Prime Minister by Governor-General Pearlette Louisy on 9 September.[6][7] The ten UWP members of the House of Assembly agreed on King's designation as Prime Minister.[7]

King reshuffled the cabinet on 12 September. In addition to Prime Ministership, he assumed the roles of External Affairs, Home Affairs and National Security.[8] King also held the modified portfolio of Minister of Finance (including International Financial Services), Economic Affairs, Economic Planning and National Development.

Earlier in 2008 Prime Minister King came under pressure, first from opposition leader Dr. Kenny Anthony and then from his own parliamentary wing, to dismiss Economic Planning Minister Ausbert D'Auvergne.[citation needed] He eventually acquiesced and returned Choiseul representative Rufus Bousquet to his cabinet, defusing the impasse.[citation needed] King also dismissed the representative of Central Castries and Minister of Housing Richard Frederick from cabinet in 2011, following a scandal created by the revocation of his visitors and diplomatic visas by the United States Government.

The King administration suffered defeat in the 2011 general elections on 28 November 2011, obtaining only 6 out of 17 seats in Parliament.

Personal life[edit]

King married Rosella Nestor, his longtime partner in a wedding ceremony in Miami on Saturday 29 November 2008.[citation needed]

References[edit]

King's most recent election poster.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
John Compton
Prime Minister of Saint Lucia
2007–2011
Succeeded by
Kenny Anthony