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Happy Golden Jubilee, Grenada! Let’s Look At a Timeline of Our Leaders

by Lou-Ann Jordan Feb 6, 2024

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The early 80s notwithstanding, the sixties and seventies were essential historical periods for the Caribbean nations. Many states shrugged off the constraints of colonial powers and appointed a new type of leader. For the first time, the leaders were not remote overseers but ones who intimately understood the needs of their societies.

Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique stand among those nations, gaining independence in 1974 and ushering in a new era of self-governance. Over the last 50 years, from 1974 to 2024, we have had eight elected Prime Ministers, with Dr Keith Claudius Mitchell serving two terms and Maurice Bishop operating as Prime Minister of the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada.

Sir Eric Gairy

Grenada’s first elected leader, Sir Eric Matthew Gairy, was prime minister from 1974 to 1979. It wasn’t the first time Sir Gairy had functioned as head of state, as he had previously attained the chief minister role. Of course, the country’s new autonomous status would have added new dimensions. As the first prime minister of the newly independent nation, Eric Matthew Gairy, the Father of Independence, set the stage for this new chapter in Grenada’s future.

Maurice Bishop

Photo taken from The New Today

Prime Minister of the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada, Maurice Rupert Bishop’s leadership spanned five years from 1979 to 1983. During a tumultuous time in the country, Bishop’s governance is noted as having resulted from a coup. Despite his controversial ascension, Bishop was well-loved by the people, attaining the People’s Revolutionary Leader title.

Herbert Blaize

Photo taken from Black Past

Born on Carriacou, one of the two sister isles, Herbert Augustus Blaize, was a solicitor by trade and a former chief minister. Blaize assumed the top position in 1984, following Grenada’s revolutionary period. His tenure ended in 1989, bringing a decade of this relatively new concept of independence to a close. Still, his name lives on in the hearts and the mouths of the people, namely when traversing St. George’s.

Ben Jones

Hailing from the parish of St. Andrews, Ben Joseph Jones joined the ranks of past prime ministers in 1989. He assumed leadership of the tri-island state because of the death of Prime Minister Herbert Blaize. Ending in 1990, his period of governance was relatively short as the constitution required him to call General Elections.

Sir Nicholas Brathwaite

The 80s ended, and Sir Nicholas Alexander Brathwaite was the leader of a new epoch. With Grenada’s democracy strengthening, Sir Brathwaite led the country from 1990 to 1995. Grenada’s fifth prime minister, Sir Nicholas, another native of Carriacou, achieved great honour by becoming a privy council member and then being knighted—all within his tenure. Sir Brathwaite retired in 1995.

George Brizan

Photo taken from Caribbean Life

George Ignatius Brizan was Grenada’s shortest-serving prime minister. He retained the position for four months during the period of Sir Brathwaite’s retirement and the General Election. In addition to politics, Brizan demonstrated contributions to Grenada’s literary community. He is the author of several books.

Keith Mitchell

Photo taken from the United Nations

Dr Keith Claudius Mitchell has the distinct honour of being Grenada’s longest-serving prime minister. Dr Mitchell served in office from 1995 to 2008 and then from 2013 to 2022. Having led the country for over 20 years, Dr Mitchell has had a significant impact on the country’s development.  

Tillman Thomas

Among Grenada’s heads of state, who were lawyers by trade, is Tillman Joseph Thomas. Elected in 2008, his term in office demonstrated the country’s growing development in self-governance. In 2013, he completed his service as Grenada’s seventh prime minister and made way for the return of Keith Mitchell.

Dickon Mitchell

Photo taken from Government of Grenada

Officially, Dickon Amiss Thomas Mitchell is Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique’s ninth prime minister. Elected in 2022 and currently serving, Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell ushers us into our 50th year as an independent nation.

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It’s been 50 years, and we continue as one people on one journey toward one future!

Happy Golden Jubilee, Grenada!

Sources: Britannica, Caribbean Elections and OECD Events.