Honourable Dr. Kenny Davis Anthony
Prime Minister of Saint Lucia
Kenny Davis Anthony (born 8 January 1951) is a Saint Lucian politician who has been Prime Minister of Saint Lucia since 2011, a post he held from 1997 to 2006. As leader of the Saint Lucia Labour Party, he was Leader of the Opposition from 2006 to 2011 and returned to office as Prime Minister on 30 November 2011 following the 2011 election.
Early life and education
Kenny Davis Anthony was born on 8 January 1951 in Laborie, Saint Lucia. He received his education at the Vieux Fort Senior Secondary School before attending the St. Lucia's Teacher's School. Anthony subsequently received a degree in law at the University of the West Indies and a doctorate in law at the University of Birmingham, England.
After several years of teaching and tutoring at the University of the West Indies, Anthony gained appointment as department head of the Caribbean Justice Improvement Department Project in 1993, and he also served as a consultant with the United Nations Development Program. In 1996 he first tested the political waters of St. Lucia by winning election as a leader within the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP),
In the Labour government that led the country from 1979 to 1982, Anthony was Special Advisor to the Ministry of Education and Culture from August 1979 to December 1980, then Minister of Education from December 1980 to March 1981. He was a member of the secretariat of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) from March 1995 until he was elected leader of the Labour Party.
Anthony became Prime Minister on 24 May 1997, a day after the SLP won parliamentary elections. While Prime Minister, he was also the Minister of Finance and Broadcasting.
During his leadership and his party's reign, Anthony led St. Lucia to record development in tourism, infrastructure and general economic development. However, imbalances in the economic development, disenfranchisement and raising crime levels are challenges his administration had difficulty to tackle. Together with much economic development came steady increases in violent crime at a rate higher than many neighbouring islands and that caused many to draw comparisons with Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
Anthony is an Honorary Member of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.
In the general elections held on 11 December 2006, the SLP suffered a surprise defeat by 11 seats to 6 at the hands of the John Compton-led UWP. While the SLP lost the election by 5 seats, the popular vote margin was in fact very slim, just over 2000 votes.
Anthony himself won a handsome victory in his constituency, Vieux Fort South, winning by 627 votes, only a few less than in the SLP's landslide election victory. Anthony remained head of the party and assumed the role of Leader of the Opposition.
An interesting twist to the 2006 elections saga is that many feel that St. Lucians went to the polls not to elect a new government but to ensure that there would be a tougher opposition as against the 16-1 majority that the SLP had previously enjoyed. In a fate of irony, voters perhaps over-compensated for the frequent poll reports and political pundits' predictions that the SLP would again win a third term with a 14-3 majority. Many feel that, had Anthony himself not latched on to those poll results, he might have been better able to convince his own supporters that they were not yet in the clear and to turn out to vote in larger numbers.
Further, the reaction of many voters to the crossing over of former UWP leader Vaughan Lewis to the SLP was not positive. Lewis was a staunch opponent of the Labour government and the former Prime Minister who had lost the elections to the SLP - albeit after being handed the post only one year before the fateful loss. Anthony and Lewis have both stated publicly that all the "bad blood" between them was now "water under the bridge".
In late July 2007, Anthony said that Compton's illness, caused by a series of strokes, and his inability to perform his duties - Stephenson King was named acting Prime Minister - meant that a new election should be held.Anthony was head of the Commonwealth of Nations observer mission in the August 2007 election in Sierra Leone. He gave the election a positive appraisal.
In March 2008, Anthony visited Cuba where he voiced his appreciation for its support of Saint Lucia. He toured Havana and Cienfuegos Province, and met with senior officials including First Vice President José Ramón Machado Ventura.
Anthony was returned to Prime Ministership on 30 November 2011 following the Saint Lucia Labour Party electoral win at the 2011 elections, winning 11 out of the 17 seats in Parliament.