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Early life and career
Joshua was born in Kingstown, Saint Vincent, British Windward Islands. As a young man in the 1920s, he went to work on the nearby island of Trinidad. There he became involved in trade unionism with Buzz Butler, and was an official of the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union from 1938 until 1950, when he tried unsuccessfully to be elected to the Trinidad legislature. Returning to Saint Vincent, Joshua entered politics in Saint Vincent, and was elected to the island's assembly in 1951. In 1952 he founded the People's Political Party (PPP). Joshua's PPP was a socialist political party whose initiatives included gaining political independence from the United Kingdom and improving working conditions and wages.
In 1956, upon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines gaining increased autonomy, Joshua became chief minister. His PPP saw continued success in subsequent elections. Joshua supported the unsuccessful Federation of the West Indies. In 1964 Joshua discontinued support for the sugar growers, closing the Saint Vincent Sugar Mill as a result of steady losses which had happened for several years.
Joshua attended an initial conference of the Caribbean Food Crop Society held in Barbados to discuss alternative crops and techniques for better productivity for bananas and arrowroot. A misunderstanding of this sequence of circumstance and Vincentian history by American musician Eric von Schmidt became the basis for the hit song "Joshua Gone Barbados". In 1967 the PPP lost their parliamentary majority and Joshua was succeeded by Milton Cato, leader of the more moderate Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Labour Party. Joshua remained in parliament, but the PPP began to decline as the conservative New Democratic Party emerged as political competition. In 1979 the PPP lost all parliamentary representation, and the party was dissolved in 1984.
The E. T. Joshua Airport in Arnos Vale is named after him.
- "Joshua, Ebenezer Theodore", in Bryan Dyde, Caribbean Companion: The A to Z Reference, Macmillan Caribbean, 1992, p. 92.
- 2008 Deseret Morning News Church Almanac (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Morning News) p. 457.
|Chief Minister of Saint Vincent