Herbert Augustus Blaize, PC
Former Prime Minister of Grenada
Herbert Augustus Blaize, PC (26 February 1918 – 19 December 1989) was a Grenadian politician and leader of the Grenada National Party.
Education and early life
Herbert Blaize was born in Carriacou on 26 February 1918, where he was educated at the Hillsborough Government School. He received his secondary education at the Grenada Boy’s Secondary School, where he proved to be an excellent student and in 1937, his final year at GBSS, was the runner-up in the examination for the Island Scholarship awarded by the Government.
After leaving school he became a civil servant in the Treasury and Administration Department of Government until he migrated to Aruba in 1944 where he worked with the Largo Oil Transport Company as a stenographer/secretary and section head in the office service of that company. Blaize returned to Grenada in 1952.
Prime Minister Herbert Augustus Blaize made his political debut in 1954, when he contested the Carriacou & Petite Martinique constituency unsuccessfully as an independent, and first took his seat in the Legislature when he won that constituency in 1957 as a member of the Grenada National Party (GNP).
In 1959 he took over the political leadership of the GNP, was Minister of Trade and Production from 1957 to 1959 and Chief Minister from 1960 to 1961.
The GNP lost the 1961 elections and Blaize became Leader of the Opposition but after the Constitution was suspended by Britain in 1962 (following a Commission of Inquiry into the then Administration led by Eric Gairy) the GNP had an outright win in the elections of that year and he held the position of Chief Minister until 1967.
Blaize’s title under the new Constitution was Premier but he reverted to being Leader of the Opposition when the GNP lost the General Elections of August 1967.
The GNP lost the General Elections again in both 1972 and 1976. The party teamed up under the banner of The People’s Alliance with two other parties, the New Jewel Movement (NJM) and the United People’s Party, and following that election, Blaize relinquished to Maurice Bishop of the NJM, the position of Leader of the Opposition.
The NJM revolution of 1979-1983 saw the GNP in abeyance but following the military intervention of October 1983, Blaize was the moving force in forging the New National Party (NNP) out of the GNP and two newly formed parties, the Grenada Democratic Movement and the National Democratic Party.
Under Blaize’s leadership, the NNP was successful in the 1984 General Elections, winning 14 of the 15 seats in the House of Representatives. These elections marked also the seventh consecutive time Blaize had won the seat for Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
Blaizie’s last session in the House was marked by controversy within the Government resulting in defections which reduced the NNP majority to nine against an opposition of six.
At a convention in January 1989, Prime Minister Blaize lost the NNP political leadership. With growing fiction within the party, he withdrew from the NNP and, with a group of members loyal to him, launched The National Party (TNP) on 31 August 1989.
At TNP’s first convention on 17 December 1989, Blaize was officially elected as the party’s Political Leader. He died two days later on December 19, 1989 at his official residence. He was 71 years old.
Hebert Blaize was survived by his wife, Dame Venetia Blaize, DBE (née Venetia Ursula Davidson); three daughters, Norma Blaize (a former Consul-General of Grenada in New York), Carol Jerome and Marion Fleary; three sons,Samuel Blaize, Marvin Blaize and Christopher Blaize. He was also survived by a sister, Muriel Noel.