|Nathaniel Joseph Selver Francis
Former Chief Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands
Nathaniel Joseph Selver Francis (1912–2004) was a politician from the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Early life and education
Nathaniel Joseph Selver Francis more affectionately called “Bops” was born at Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands on 6 May 1912 to Nathaniel Joseph and Helena Louise Francis nee Selver. At an early age he attended school at the home of his grandparent Nathaniel H. Selver, JP under thetutorship of his aunt ClaraSelver. At age seven years he was enrolled at the Grand Turk Elementary School until his 14th birthday and then moved on to the all Age School under the late Mr. Crawford.
During his school days, he was taught the profession of printing by his father who was the Government Printer. At the death of his father in 1938 he went to work in the Public Works Department as Assistant to the Superintendent of Public Works. While working in P.W.D. he became interested in the legal field and then began a career of assisting the less fortunate ones in the Courts of the Land.
To this end, he was very useful and very successful although by the Laws of the Land, he was not entitled to charge for his services. He continued to help his fellow men in the Courts - both Magistrate and Supreme - and was so outstanding and successful that the Commissioner of the day, E.P. Arrowsmith asked him to consider giving up the practice as he was getting too many criminals off at large in the communities of our many Islands, and further asked him to consider going to Jamaica to be articled in a very reputable legal firm and on his return home to work for the Government when required; however, this did not materialize.
In the early 1940s, Francis was appointed Inspector of Nuisance, a post he held until 1945 when he was accepted to study Public Health at the School for Public Health Inspectors in Jamaica.
On his return, he was appointed the first Public Health Inspector in the Turks and Caicos Islands. He went about that task with vigor, knowledge and a burning desire to help his country and its people. At that time there were no health standards so he immediately set about writing and implementing a Code of Health Laws and Standards to be obeyed and kept.
Flies, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, hook and other worm infestations were very prevalent also head and body lice were just about everywhere and the schools were more heavily infested than elsewhere.
His hard, knowledgeable and devoted approach to this problem resulted in the complete eradication of these parasites, which further resulted in better health of the children evidenced by the increase in school attendances. N.J.S. did not merely leave the problem there, he set about giving lectures on tape worms, showing its spread from pig to man and how this spread could be stopped.
His lectures, both at schools and in public, were always instructive and well attended. Nathaniel had the ability to speak to school children at their level on health subjects in a manner in which they were able to grasp and to comprehend the subject of his discussion andthechildrenlookedforwardtohisvisits.
Francis continued in the field of Public Health until 1972 when he resigned and became involved in politics, running for election to the Legislature.
He served in what was called 'Open House Politics' before the introduction of the Ministerial System of Government. Francis along with his colleagues such as NB, Headley Durham, Dan Malcolm and Art Butterfield worked tirelessly with the Constitutional Commission With the introduction of that Constitution Bops found himself in Opposition. 1980, he was appointed as a Minister. In1985, with the Progressive National Oarty (PNP)'s victory at the polls he was appointed Minister.
Francis served as the island territory's acting Chief Minister from 28 March 1985 until 25 July 1986, when he was forced to resign after charges of corruption and patronage were leveled against him.
Death and legacy
Francis died in 2004 and the new Parliament Buildings of the Turks and Caicos was renamed NJS Francis Building in 2005.