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James Beethoven Carlisle
(5 August 1937 - )
Sir James Beethoven Carlisle, GCMG
Former Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda

Sir James Beethoven Carlisle, GCMG (born 5 August 1937) is a dentist and the former Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda. Selected by Vere Cornwall Bird as the country's first indigenous prime minister, his term ended in June 2007, after 14 years in office.

Early life and education

Carlisle was born 5 August 1937 in the village of Bolans, Antigua. He received his early education at Bolans Public School, before moving to the United Kingdom to continue his education at Northampton College of Advanced Technology.  He then took a Bachelor's degree in dentistry at the University of Dundee.  In 1991, he graduated from the American School of Laser Dentistry.


Carlisle practised in both Antigua and Britain.  Upon his return to Antigua in 1981 he went into private practice, the fourth dentist on the island.  However, he built up his private practice and also undertook work as a dental officer in the public service.

With help from the ex-prime minister, Vere Bird, one of his patients, who offered the position of Governor-General to him, he assisted with the development of a Fluoride programme for children, and assisted the ex prime minister institute a free dental service. He is a member of the International Society of Laser Dentists and the British Dental Association.

Carlisle was in the British Royal Air Force from 1961 to 1966. He was also commissioned in the Royal Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force between 1983 and 1993. As Governor-General he was automatically appointed as Commander of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force.

Carlisle involved himself in the local community. He was Chairman of the National Parks Authority, which he ran before he was nominated by the then prime minister as Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda. As Governor-General Sir James was the representative of the Queen, the country's head of state. As Governor-General, Carlisle held the following positions:

  • Grandmaster of four Antiguan Orders of Chivalry as Governor-General
  • Chief Scout of the Antigua and Barbuda Branch of The Scout Association
  • Patron of the local British Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme
  • Patron of the Renal Society of Antigua and Barbuda

Honours and Awards

Sir James was made a British Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) in November 1993 and invested in July 1994. He was also conferred with the Knight of Justice, Order of St. John (KStJ). Sir James was awarded a Doctor of Laws (Honorary) by the Andrews University in Michigan, USA.

Personal life

Carlisle is married to Emma Carlisle, who during her period as wife to the Governor-General became involved in raising funds from commercial sponsors for indigenous persons in her homeland.

Carlisle is a Seventh-day Adventist. As such he did not carry out official duties on the Sabbath or serve alcohol to guests at official functions. This was a source of some controversy, by his own admission.


Throne Speech 2002
Throne Speech, 18 March 2002
Throne Speech 2004
Throne Speech, 29 March 2004
Throne Speech 2005
Independence Parade, 18 November 2005
18 November 2005
Throne Speech by the Governor-General at the State Opening of Parliament 2005
29 March 2004
Throne Speech by the Governor-General at the State Opening of Parliament 2004
27 March 2003
Throne Speech by the Governor-General at the State Opening of Parliament 2003
18 March 2002
Throne Speech by the Governor-General at the State Opening of Parliament 2002
19 March 2001
Throne Speech by the Governor-General at the State Opening of Parliament 2001
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James Carlisle
Occupation Dentist
Date of Birth 5 August 1937
Place of Birth Bolans, Antigua
Notable Accomplishments
Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda: 10 June 1993 – 30 June 2007
Antigua and Barbuda
Heads of State of Antigua and Barbuda

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