- List of people of Dominica
This is a list of notable people from the Commonwealth of
Dominica.Norbert Philips, Cricketer
Nicholas Liverpool(current President) Prime Ministers
Oliver J. Seraphin(Interim Prime Minister 1979/80)
*Dame Eugenia Charles
Roosevelt Skerrit(incumbent) Political Party leaders
Phyllis Shand Allfrey(1907-1986) Politician, novelist, poet and newspaper editor. Born in Roseau. Emigrated in her teens to the US and later to England where she got involved in Fabian Socialism, joined the British Labour Party and began her literary career. Published her only novel The Orchid House. Returned to Dominica in 1953. Founded the Dominica Labour Party with E.C. Loblack in 1955. Won a seat in the Federal elections of 1958 as a member of the parliament of the Federation of the West Indies. Was made Minister of Labour and Social Services. Returned to Dominica on the collapse of the Federation and was expelled from the DLP in a 'palace coup' in 1962. Taught briefly at The Wesley High School. Became editor of The Dominica Herald (1963 -1965) and The Dominica Star (1965 - 1982). Helped to found The Dominica Freedom Party in 1968.
Cecil Rawle, full name Cecil Edgar Allan Rawle (1891-1938) Lawyer, member of the Legislative Council, newspaper proprietor, pioneer of Caribbean unity. Cecil Rawle was born in Roseau on 27 March 1891, of Trinidadian parents, his father (William Alexander Romally Rawle (mother Jane Susanna Dieudonne))being the head of the local branch of the West India and Panama Telegraph Company, the precursor of Cable and Wireless. Rawle was educated at the Dominica Grammar School and Codrington College, Barbados and graduated in law at the Inner Temple, London, in 1913. He practiced law briefly in Trinidad and Grenada before returning to Dominica. At that time there was no elected representation in Dominica and Rawle led a campaign to bring back the vote, founding the Dominica Representative Government Association. In 1925 its goal was achieved, a new constitution was granted, and Rawle represented Roseau in the first elected legislature in the 20th century. Besides practicing law he owned the Dominica Tribune newspaper, which he incorporated with the Dominica Guardian in 1924. He however clashed with his main reporter J. Ralph Casimir over Casimir's support of Marcus Garvey's UNIA Pan-AfricanistMovement. Finding that the elected minority in the legislature was restrictive, Rawle led a boycott of the legislature in 1931. The following year he chaired 'The Dominica Conference', the first regional meeting to be initiated by Caribbean leaders themselves to discuss the future of the region. The delegates called on the British government to grant greater representation and self-government. Another constitutional change in 1936 made some limited changes towards achieving their demands. In 1937 Rawle accepted the position of Attorney General of the Leeward Islands, based in Antigua. Some saw this as a sell-out to a British ploy to absorb an agitator, but Rawle's growing family and financial commitments had much to do with his acceptance of the post. Within a year however, he died suddenly in Antigua on 9 June 1938at the early age of 47. Yet he had accomplished much within those years, particularly as a pioneer regionalist in the ranks of A. A. Cipriani of Trinidad and T. A. Marryshow of Grenada. He left his wife second wife Sylvia Eva Shillingford Rawle, his son Cecil Eric Albert (a former Attorney General of St. Vincent) daughters Sylvia Evelyn, Cecil Corinne, Cecil Sonia Valerie, Gloria Cecilie, and Cecile Clodagh. His eldest child, Elsie Cecil Veronica, lived with his second wife's family after his first wife, Elsie Elizabeth Sophia, died in childbirth. He also had another daughter Shelia. (This page was edited by one of his grandsons and a great-granddaughter).
*Edward Oliver LeBlanc Premier, Chief Minister, Agricultural Officer and Poet. Born at Vieille Case,
3 October 1923. He was educated at the Vieille Case government school and took a course in agriculture at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, Trinidad in 1944. He later studied on his own for the London Matriculation Certificate obtained in 1948. Worked in the civil service as Agricultural Instructor 1945-1953. Then was employed by the Dominica Banana Growers Association (DBGA) as agent in the northern district. Served during this time as nominated and then elected member of the Vieille Case Village Council. In his spare time he wrote poetry, some of which was published in the US. In 1957 he joined Dominica Labour Party (DLP), which had been founded two years earlier by Phyllis Allfrey and E.C Loblack. Le Blanc contested the general elections of that year and won the Portsmouth seat in the Legislative council. The following year he resigned his seat to contest the Federal Elections, and along with Phyllis Allfrey, represented Dominica in the Federal Parliament of the West Indies. In 1960 he resigned from the Federal Parliament to contest the local Dominica general elections of 1961. He led the (DLP) to its first victory, winning the Roseau South constituency, becoming Chief Minister and Minister of Finance. In the aftermath of the collapse of the WI Federation in May 1962 he participated in all of the conferences in London attempting to save a federation of "the little eight" islands which were left after Jamaica and Trinidad went independent. Finally, when all else failed, he attended the 1966 Lancaster House Conference to make Dominica a self-governing Associated State in March 1967. He became the island's first Premier. From the following year political pressure increased with the formation of The Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) out of remnants of old DUPP as a result of unpopular legislation passed by the DLP. In spite of this, Le Blanc's widespread popularity in the countryside rode triumphant. He was associated with the great social, economic and infrastructural changes that swept Dominica during the 1960s. The regional banana boom, Colonial Development & Welfare (CDW) funded projects planned long before, and the tide of change sweeping the Caribbean had much to with this, but locally, Le Blanc was associated with leading all these achievements. His championing of the cause of "the little man" against the strangle hold of the old elite and the raising to the prominence of local talent in all fields, and folk culture in particular, made him the hero of the hour. But in 1970 his leadership was challenged by members of his own Cabinet who ousted him from the DLP. Running with his supporters under the banner of the Le Blanc Labour Party he comfortably won the 1970 general elections. By 1973 however, faced with protest demonstrations over another attempt at regional integration, this time with Guyana, and conflicts with the DFP, as well as with the Civil Service Association (SCA) supported by other trade unions, Le Blanc was becoming weary of leadership. In July 1974 he resigned and the position of Premier went to Patrick R. John. Le Blanc retired to his home at Vieille Case. At the early age of 53, embittered by what he saw as ingratitude and deceit around him and withdrew completely from public life.
Patrick Johnformer Prime Minister, parliamentarian, mayor, trade unionist, teacher, sportsman. Born in Roseau 7 January 1938. Educated at the Roseau Boys School and the St. Mary's Academy. Worked for Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU). Elected to the Roseau Town Council and served as Mayor from 1965. In 1970 contested the general elections as a member of the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) and won the Roseau seat, serving in the Le Blanc government at different times as Minister of Communications and Works, Home Affairs, Agriculture and Finance. In 1974 took over the leadership of the DLP from Edward Le Blanc and prepared the party with a new younger look for the general elections of 1975. This he won with a landslide, the DLP capturing 16 of the 21 seats in the House of Assembly. He became Premier and in the following year at Salisbury issued the Salisbury Declaration, preparing Dominica for negotiations towards full independence. This was achieved on 3 November 1978and John became the first Prime Minister. He was bestowed with Venezuela's highest honour, The Order of Francisco de Miranda. His close association with President Forbes Burnham of Guyana was much criticized. In 1979, heavily influenced by the Attorney General Leo Austin, the DLP engaged in deals and took legislative action that stirred up the population in violent response. On 29 May 1979demonstrators outside the House of Assembly were shot at by the DDF, several were injured and one youth was killed. Representatives of civil society gathered under the leadership of the Committee for National Salvation (CNS) and called for the resignation of the government. John and Finance Minister Victor Riviere did not resign, but other members did, shifting the balance of power that resulted in a new "interim government" headed by Prime Minister Oliver Seraphin. In the general elections of 1980 John lost his seat in the Assembly and disaffected DDF members, former DLP supporters, aided by a group of Dreads near Giraudel and foreign mercenaries sought to overthrow the duly elected (DFP) government led by Eugenia Charles. The attempts at a coup d'état were discovered, thwarted, and the plotters both in Dominica and the US were exposed. Under emergency powers, John and others were arrested. In October 1985 John was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for conspiring to overthrow the government. After several appeals from various persons to Eugenia Charles for leniency, he was released on 29 May 1990. He resumed a role in public life particularly in sports, becoming President of the Dominica Football Association and serving as warden of the St. George's Anglican Church
Loblack, Emmanuel, Christopher(1898-1995) Trade unionist, legislator. Born at Grand Bay he became a mason and builder, eventually employed by the Public Works Department. In 1939, when the Moyne Commission was visiting Dominica to investigate conditions here, Loblack appeared before the Commission and with others, accompanied its members to view the slum areas of Roseau and made complaints about wage rates and the tenuous position of tenant farmers. One member, Lord Citrine, encouraged the setting up of a trade union, as he had done in other territories. It was not until the 1940s however, that Loblack with the assistance of Austin Winston and Ralph Nicholls, launched the Dominica Trade Union on 11 January 1945. The union grew rapidly, soon having 26 branches around the island. In 1949, Loblack represented Dominica in Britain at the International Confederation of Trade Unions. When Phyllis Shand Allfrey returned from England in 1953, she and Loblack worked together to found the Dominica Labour Party on 24 May 1955. By that time Loblack's hold on the DTU was weakening as new younger members became more active and he was expelled from the DTU in 1957. His role as a political activist for the DLP strengthened however, and he was rewarded with a nominated seat in the legislative council when the DLP won the 1961 general elections. The expulsion of Felix Allfrey from the DLP in September 1962 caused Loblack to fall out with the hierarchy of the DLP and he grew increasingly critical of the government. By 1968, Loblack and Allfrey joined with Eugenia Charles and others to found the Dominica Freedom Party and for the rest of his life Loblack was an outspoken supporter of the DFP. He received a meritorious service award from the State and a certificate of commendation from the University of the West Indies.
George James Christian(barrister; great-grandfather of TV newscaster Moira Stuart, OBE; grandfather of publisher/writer Margaret Busby, OBE)
*Dame Mary Eugenia Charles, Prime Minister, lawyer, politician, journalist and 'The Iron Lady of the Caribbean'. (See: lennoxhonychurch.com/home.cfm)
*Caudeiron, Mabel “Cissie” (1909-1968) Folklorist and teacher. As a child Mabel “Cissie” Boyd was always involved in plays and concerts and later composed many Creole songs highly influenced by the beguines of Martinique. A time at Arima in Trinidad also contributed to her knowledge of the wider Caribbean forms of folk culture. She was away from Dominica for many years following her marriage in 1938 to Jean-Albert Caudeiron, a French engineer. They moved to Venezuela, where she raised her family, returning to Dominica in 1957 with renewed energy and determination to continue her earlier work for the greater recognition of Dominican folk heritage and traditional culture. She opened a small school of her own and was a teacher at the Wesley High School. Supported by the Chief Minister, Edward Le Blanc, she helped to organise the first National Day celebrations of 1965. She founded the Kairi Artistic Troupe, the first group of its kind to be formed in Dominica, which represented the island abroad. Locally she researched and wrote articles on the heritage of music, dances and traditional dress. She was a Creole nationalist similar to others elsewhere in the Caribbean at the time who raised the national perception of folk culture to the forefront of national consciousness. She died while in the process of carrying on that legacy, collapsing on
20 February 1968during a practice in preparation for that year’s upcoming Carnival.
*Griffin Drs CN and PN Two doctors, father and son who served Dominica in important areas of medical care at different times in the 20th century. Dr. Charles Norman Griffin, trained at
McGill University, Canada, was appointed assistant medical officer in Roseau in 1923 and served in Grand Bay from 1924 to 1926. From 1929 he was medical officer of Health and served in 1934 Chief Medical Officer until 1939 when he was transferred to St. Kitts. His son Philip Norman Griffin graduated from Sheffield University, UK and took up the duties in Grand Bay in 1954. Transferred to Roseau in 1957, he was one of the pioneers of the new Princess Margaret Hospital where he was in charge of laboratory services among other duties. Later he was Specialist Anaesthetist at PMH. After years of private practice he retired in 1996.
*James, Edison, Chenfil (1943- ) Former one term Prime Minister, parliamentarian, agriculturist, sportsman. Born at Marigot,
18 October 1943. Educated at the Marigot Government School and the Dominica Grammar School. Emigrated to England in 1964 where he studied at the East London Polytechnic, the University of Reading and the Imperial College, London, at which institutions he obtained B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Botany, Biochemistry and Crop Protection Technology. He returned to Dominica in 1973, first teaching at the St. Mary's Academy and then taking up posts with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Canadian funded Coconut Rehabilitation Project. From 1980 to 1987 he was general manager of the Dominica Banana Growers Association (DBGA) and then the newly established Dominica Banana Marketing Corporation (DBMC). He served the sport of cricket as player and manager in positions both local and regional. In 1988 he lead the formation of The United Workers Party (UWP) and prepared it for the 1990 general elections. At this the UWP gained 6 seats and James became Leader of The Opposition. The UWP won the 1995 general elections with 11 seats and formed the government with Edison James as Prime Minister. The party lost the government in the general election of January 2000, gaining only 9 seats, which were reduced to 8 when one member crossed the floor. He is noted for his anti-Roseau sentiment, a fact which may have contributed to his losing the 2000 elections as his egomanical personality became more pronounced in the Prime Minister's office. In February 2000, James returned to the position of Leader of The Opposition.
Writers and historians
(with notable books listed)
Phyllis Shand Allfrey(" The Orchid House")
Alec Waugh(" Island in the Sun")
Jean Rhys(" Wide Sargasso Sea")(1890-1979) The pen name of Dominica’s most famous author who was born in Roseau on 24 August 1890and was christened Ella Gwendolen Rees Williams. Her father was a Welsh doctor working here and her mother was one of the Lockhart family, longstanding Dominican Creoles, who owned Geneva Estate at Grand Bay. She was educated at the Convent School and left for England when she was sixteen years old. She went into the theatre for a short time but began writing in earnest in 1922, publishing her first book in 1927. By then she had married a Dutch poet, the first of her three husbands, and lived a rootless wandering life in Europe mainly in London, Paris and Vienna. Her early novels and short stories reflect this lifestyle. She only returned to Dominica once, in 1936. Her literary triumph was the novel “Wide Sargasso Sea” published in 1966, which won literary awards, and which, like parts of her other books, drew on her memories of Dominica. She died in Devon, England, on May 14, 1979.
Lennox Honychurch(" The Dominica Story") [http://www.lennoxhonychurch.com/home.cfm (Official site)]
Irwin Andre(" Distant Voices")
Juliana T. Magloire("The Sea Hawk")
Trish Cooke(parents are Dominican)
Marie-Elena John"( Unburnable)" (mother is Dominican)
Gabriel Christian"( Rain on a Tin Roof)"
Scrunterand Hunter, two famous calypsonians of the 1990s
Music Lovers Band
*Richard George now known as Rockland
Lennox Linton(host of " What About...!")
Nazarine Gordon(anchor of " MarpinEvening News")
Tim Durand(anchor of "Marpin Evening News")
Trisha Goddard" Trisha", her mother is Dominican
*Jim Rush (singer)
Moira Stuart, female newsreader on British television
* Diane Parish,from eastenders her father is Dominican
Brother Egbert Germain(former principal of Saint Mary's Academy)
*Gilbert Malzaire (current Bishop of the
Roman Catholic Church)
*Arnold Bogehart (Catholic Bishop from 1975 until 1993)
Families of Dominica - our lineage
*Shillingford (E): A family widespread in Dominica, which has its origins among the 18th century English settlers. There are several places in England named Shillingford. The family arrived here in the 1780s and opened a blacksmith's shop in Newtown, their names appear in certain documents of the time, but they rose to prominence in the 1860s. One, Thomas, bought Peru Temps Estate near Geneva, Grand Bay; the others expanded their property near the Newtown Savannah. Each had several children who were prolific in their relationships and their resultant offspring were widely distributed around the island. One example is that of Thomas Howard Shillingford who invested in shops in each village along the west coast from Layou to Dublanc. Each one was run by a woman with whom he had children, which he duly supported and to whom he bequeathed his properties. The female Shillingfords married into other influential families such as Royer, Garraway, Rawle, Boyd, Trotter, Green, Alleyne and Winston, thus spreading the Shillingfords' influence even further. By the 1930s the network of Shillingfords, headed by those such as H.D, A.C.S, virtually controlled every aspect of Dominican society, from the membership of the legislature, to land holding, the import of trade in food and other merchandise and the export of trade in cassava farine, arrowroot, cocoa and coffee and agro-industry in the production of rum, lime juice, other citrus fruit and bay rum. Although this powerful influence began to decline from the 1960s, with the rise of the Lebanese and political change, this name was spread across the land and is still identified around the Caribbean as " a Dominican Name ". All generations of the family were in the forefront of sports: representing Dominica, particularly in cricket, led by Hughes, Stafford, and Ivan followed in the 1970s by Grayson and Irvin.
*Garraway (E) One of the leading families in Dominica during the 19th century, of which the most distinguished member was James Garraway, who rose to the Presidency (the equivalency of Governor) of Dominica in the 1860s. His achievement was described, at the time, as "The first man of African blood who ever reached this high honour in any of the former slave holding dependencies of the British Crown". He was the founder of J.A.S Garraway, which is the oldest surviving company in Dominica. His father Robert, was influential in the construction of the Anglican church. The family owned Morne Prosper estate, and much later, Mount Eolus estate at Portsmouth.
*Peltier (F) A family of French origin long associated with the village of Point Michel and the land around it. John Baptiste Peltier was the first of the family to settle here in the 1730s. He had previously been a small-scale planter in northern Martinique, who then moved across the channel to Dominica and acquired land in the parish of St. Luke. His descendants have been prominent people in Point Michel for generations.
*Fred White (whose
amateur radioserved as Dominica's only form of communication in the aftermath of 1979's Hurricane David)
Phillip DeFreitas, cricketer born in Dominica, who subsequently played for the England cricket team.
Vince Hilairefootballer with Crystal Palace Football club in the late 1970s. His parents were Dominican
*Frank Bruno, professional boxer, his father was from Dominica.
Joe Cooke, footballer with Bradford City in the 1970s and 1980s was born in Dominica. After leaving Bradford City he also played for Peterborough United, Oxford United, Exeter City, Bradford City (again), Rochdale, Wrexham and Liversedge F.C.. He is the older brother of Trish Cookewriter and TV presenter.
*David James, professional footballer. Has been goalkeeper for England and plays for Portsmouth, father is Dominican.
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