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George Hamilton Charles
(1917 - 6 December 2004)
George Hamilton Charles
Former Speaker of the Legislative Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines

George Hamilton Charles was a politician and former Majority Leader of the Legislative Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Early life and education

George Hamilton Charles was born in 1917 in Brighton, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He attended the Brighton Methodist School and then emigrated to Trinidad.  He was involved in politics there under the influence of noted trade unionist Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler, and won a political seat in the Diego Martin ward. He returned to  St. Vincent and the Grenadines and became actively involved in politics in the country.


Charles started the United Workers and Rate Payers Union (UWRPU) as the base of the Eighth Army of Liberation, in January 1951. The UWRPU was able to unionise nearly 10,000 workers within months of its establishment.

The Eighth Army of Liberation (EAL) was the first group to be elected in 1951 after the granting of Universal Adult Suffrage, and cptured all eight seats in the 1951 election - Ebenezer Joshua (North Windward), Julian Baynes (St. George), Rudolph Baynes (Kingstown), Samuel Slater (North Leeward), Clive Tannis (Grenadines), Herman Young (South Leeward), Evans Morgan (Mesopotamia). 

Internal problems in the Eighth Army of Liberation involving a disagreement over a celebratory invitation to Government House after the elections of 1952, resulted in a 4-4 split between the Big Four and the Little Four. The Big Four was led by Ebenezer Joshua and included  Julian Baynes, Rudolph Baynes and Samuel Slater.  George Hamilton Charles led the Little Four, which also comprised Clive Tannis, Herman Young and Evans Morgan. This split eventually led to the break-up of the Eighth Army of Liberation.  Joshua resigned from the United Workers and Rate Payers Union, and within a month or two, established the Federated Industrial Agricultural Workers Union, and founded the People's Political Party (PPP) in April 1952, a mere six months after the electoral victory of the Eighth Army.

Having led the Eighth Army to total victory in 1951, Charles in 1954 re-won his seat as a member of the defunct Eighth Army. In 1957, he lost as the deputy-leader of Herman Young People’s Liberation Movement. For 1961 he was defeated running on the ticket of the St Vincent Labour Party, formed in 1955. Charles ducked the twin elections of 1966-67 and 1972 , though he appeared in those years to range on the side of the PPP. Then in 1974, Charles came out once more leading the West Indies National Independence Party where he suffered a stinging defeat, mustering a mere 34 votes.

Death and legacy

George Hamilton Charles passed away on 6 December 2004, at the age of 87 and was accorded a state funeral on Thursday, 16 December 2004.  He was laid to rest at the Brighton Cemetery.

The publication “From Charles to Mitchell Part 1 “ by Cecil Ryan and Cecil A. ‘Blazer’ Williams, documents the contribution of George Hamilton Charles to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. 

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Jomo Thomas
Occupation Politician
Date of Birth 1917
Place of Birth Brighton, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Date of Death 6 December 2004 (aged 87)
Place of Death St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Notable Accomplishments
Former Majority Leader of the Legislative Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines: 1951 - 1954
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Houe of Assembly of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Eighth Army of Liberation

 National Heroes
 Caribbean Leaders
 Women in Caribbean Politics
 Caribbean Nobel Laureates
 Order of the Caribbean Community Recipients
 In Memoriam
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