Sir Kennedy served 15 years as leader of St. Kitts & Nevis, having attained the top political office of Premier, in February, 1980, when his People’s Action Movement, (PAM), formed a coalition government with the Nevis Reformation Party, NRP, led then, by Dr. Simeon Daniel.
In just over 2 years of wresting the seat of power from the entrenched Labour Party of former Premiers Bradshaw, Southwell and Lee L. Moore, Dr. Simmonds, took the bold initiative to lead his small developing country of less than 50,000, into the unknown future of political independence, on 19th September, 1983.
In so doing Dr. Simmonds became the first Prime Minister of the new nation, going on to serve for another 12 years, before his party lost to their arch rival, the Labour Party, this time under the leadership of Dr. Denzil Douglas.
Dr. Simmonds was born in the capital city of Basseterre, to parents Ms. Brontie Clarke and Mr. Arthur Simmonds.
The man who would grow up to lead his country, won what was then a very prestigious scholarship to attend the exclusive St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla Grammar School, at the tender age of nine, (9), when the official age of entrance was 12, in 1945. Then in 1956, he went on to win another award, this time the Leeward Islands Scholarship, topping the results in all the islands that made up the sub-grouping.
After leaving school Dr. Simmonds worked for a while at the lab of the Basseterre Sugar Factory and in 1955 he travelled to Jamaica to pursue medical studies, graduating in 1962.
Returning home in 1964, after an internship in Jamaica, Dr. Simmonds soon found himself being elected Vice President of the People’s Action Movement when it was formed in 1965, and headed by the late William “Billy” Valentine Herbert.
His first election, which he lost, was in 1966, at the age of 30.
It would take another 2 elections, (1971 and 1975), before he secured his first victory, in a bye- election, in 1979, after the death of Bradshaw, in Central Basseterre, having previously ran in East Basseterre. One year later, in 1980, with his party’s 3 seats, and 2 from NRP, Dr. Simmonds took the reins of power, unseating Labour under Lee Moore, and for the first time in post colonial history, pushing the Labour Party into opposition.
As Dr. Simmonds celebrates his 75 years on earth, many of his party faithfuls, well wishers, and the proud people of St. Kitts & Nevis, have been offering congratulations to a man they describe as the most humble Prime Minister known to have served in the Caribbean.
To Sir Kennedy Alphonse Simmonds, First Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis…Happy 75th Birthday!
Note: Read more about Sir Kennedy Simmonds in the Community Profile of MiyVue.com