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Patrick Roland John
(7 January 1938 - )
Patrick Roland John
Former Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica

Patrick Roland John (7 January 1938) was the Prime Minister of Dominica as well as the Premier of Dominica. During his premiership Dominica gained independence from the United Kingdom and he became the first Prime Minister of Dominica.

Early life and education

Patrick Roland John was born on 7 January 1938 in Roseau Dominica. He was educated at the Roseau Boys School and the St. Mary's Academy where he later taught for four years. Worked as a shipping clerk at H.H.V. Whitchurch & Co. before leaving to organize the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU).


In 1960 he became involved in trade unionism. He attended courses on industrial relations and trade unionism in Jamaica and Canada and became general secretary of Dominica's Waterfront and Allied Worker Union, which he had helped to found. In 1965 he was elected to the influential post of mayor of the island's capital, Roseau. Entering the legislature in 1970 as a member of E.O. LeBlanc's ruling Dominica Labour Party, he subsequently held several ministerial posts. When LeBlanc resigned in 1974, John succeeded him as prime minister.

Following the murder of a number of tourists in the mid-1970s and the emergence of a black power movement, he introduced legislation so broadly drawn that it even regulated acceptable modes of dress. Later, he indicated that revolutionary groups would not be tolerated. Personally charming and witty, though with an aggressive streak that some related to his diminutive stature, John was an animated, unpompous, and incisive speaker who obviously enjoyed playing to the gallery.

He became the first prime minister of independent Dominica on 3 November 1978. As was the case with many Caribbean politicians, John, who was also honorary commander of Dominica's 80-strong defense force, eluded political labels. In Caribbean terms he was a socialist but not a revolutionary. After some dalliance with Cuban and Guyanese models of development, he appeared to have rejected them in favour of a mixed economy.

Internationally, he made it clear that, in development terms, he saw the island's future bound up with the West. To the surprise of many, one of his first acts after independence was to establish diplomatic relations with South Korea.

On 29 May 1979, in the face of widespread protests to his austere leadership, soldiers fired on demonstrating crowds. In the ensuing melee, a young man was shot dead and several persons were injured. Resistance to his rule strengthened as public servants went on strike and the country was completely shut down. He was eventually forced to resign in June 1979 after several of his cabinet miniters deserted the party.

In the general elections of 1980 John lost his seat in the Assembly and disaffected DDF members, former DLP supporters, aided by a group of Dreads near Giraudel and foreign mercenaries sought to overthrow the duly elected (DFP) government led by Eugenia Charles. The attempts at a coup d'état were discovered, thwarted, and the plotters both in Dominica and the US were exposed. Under emergency powers, John and others were arrested. In court cases, which followed the trial judge found that John had no case to answer and he was released, but the State appealed and the Court of Appeal ordered a new trial to take place. In October 1985 John was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for conspiring to overthrow the government.

After several appeals from various persons to Eugenia Charles for leniency, he was released on 29 May 1990.

John resumed a role in public life particularly in sports, becoming President of the Dominica Football Association. Under his leadership the DFA became a FIFA affiliate in 1994. He served as President until 2006, when he was voted out of office by the local football fraternity. In 2007 he was inducted into the CONCACAF Hall of Fame. In May 2008 he was re-elected as President of the DFA. The DFA administrative headquarters is named "Patrick John Football House" in honour of John. In November 2011, John was banned by FIFA from the sport for two years and fined $3,300, for his part in an alleged bribery scheme involving FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam.

Honours and awards

He was bestowed with Venezuela's highest honour, The Order of Francisco de Miranda.

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Patrick John
Occupation Politician
Date of Birth 7 January 1938
Place of Birth Roseau, Dominica
Notable Accomplishments
Prime Minister of Dominica: 03 November 1978 - 21 June 1979
Dominica Dominica
Heads of Government of Dominica
Dominica Labour Party

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