Sydney Earl Vincent Morris
Former Deputy Prime Minister, St. Kitts and Nevis
Sydney Earl Vincent Morris was a politician and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Early life and education
Sydney Earl Morris was born Sunday, 25 November 1934 at Upper Cayon, St Mary’s, St. Kitts to Gwendolyn Euphemia Charles and Ira Sefton Morris. He grew up in the home of his grandparents with his mother Gwendolyn Charles. He was her second child and first of two sons. He was the last surviving child of his mother having been predeceased by his brother Edgar and later his sister Estelle.
His Grandfather Jonathan Alexander Charles was a strict disciplinarian, an educator and an Elder in the Village of Cayon and instilled in him the importance of education and community. Sidney applied himself diligently. His education therefore began at his Grandfather’s private school up to 1947 when he entered the Cayon All Age School at this Moravian Church’s schoolroom. He earned two Standard Seven Certificates.
Morris won a Caribbean Organization Fellowship to the Inter American University in San German, Puerto Rico in 1964 and pursued the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts Degrees. He secured a B.A. of Arts (Cum Laude) in Economics and Business Administration and a M.A. in Education Administration from 1964-1967.
Morris joined the teaching profession in St. Kitts on 15 May 1950 as a Pupil Teacher and was appointed an Assistant Teacher. He successfully passed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year examinations and went on to become an Assistant Teacher passing his 2nd and 3rd year courses. From 1964 to 1965 he attended Erdiston College, a Teacher Education facility in Barbados from which he successfully graduated.
Sidney in 1964 won a Caribbean Organisation Fellowship to the Inter American University in San German, Puerto Rico and pursued the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts Degrees. He secured a BA (Cum Laude) in Economics and Business Administration and an MA in Education Administration.
Upon his return to St. Kitts and Nevis, his first assignment in September 1965 was as Principal of Cayon All Age School. By 1966 he was transferred to St. Peter’s Primary School.
He taught at the then Sandy Point High School from 1967 to 1968 and at the Cayon All Age School from 1968 to 1969, before becoming Principal of the St. Peters Primary School from 1969-1970. He was from 1968 – 1970, Vice President of the St. Kitts Teacher’s Association.
Morris resigned from the teaching profession in 1970 and went to work as Industrial Relations Officer at the St. Kitts Sugar Association from 1970 to 1973 before travelling to Bermuda where he taught Math, Geography and Civics Teacher at Warwick Secondary School from August 1973 to 6 February 1980. He was also Secretary of the Bermuda Teachers’ Association and from 1977-1979 was an Examiner in Civics and Geography for the Bermuda Secondary School Examinations.
Morris entered active politics from 1979 and successfully contested the Constituency No. 8 seat in 1980 for the People’s Action Movement (PAM). He was part of a PAM Team headed by Dr. The Rt. Hon. Sir Kennedy Simmonds which went on in coalition with the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) to form a new Government. He would serve as an elected Member of Parliament for 4 consecutive terms from February 1980 to July 1995.
As a Cabinet Minister, he held several portfolios:
- From 1980 to 1989 – Minister of Education, Health and Community Affairs
- From 1989 to 1993 – Minister of Education, Youth and Community Affairs.
He was appointed Deputy Prime Minister on 1 April 1992 and acted as Prime Minister on numerous occasions.
His allied responsibilities included as Chairman of our First Independence Committee in 1983 and each year thereafter; being our National Representative to the OAS and UNESCO Delegate following Independence in 1983, Representing St. Kitts and Nevis at White House briefings on the invasion of Haiti to remove ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier and the intervention in Grenada following the massacre of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and his colleagues.
In the 1960s, he was Secretary of the Cayon Literary Society and joined the St. Kitts Jaycees Chapter in the 1960s, serving as its Secretary from 1968-1969 and its President in 1970. He received the accolade of Senator from Junior Chamber International. In the 1980’s he was part of a team helping to revive the St. Kitts Jaycees Chapter. From 1969-1970, he was Chairman of the Cayon Community Council and the Excelsior Table Tennis Club. He was a lifelong Member of this Church, the Bethesda Moravian Church.
Morris died on 4 May 2011 after a prolonged illness. He was 76. He was accorded an Official Funeral on Thursday, 12 May 2011 at the Moravian Church in Cayon.