Esmond St. John Payne, CMG, JP
Former Ambassador, St. Kitts and Nevis
Esmond St. John Payne was an Ambassador in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Early life and education
Esmond St John Payne was born on 2 August 1937 in St. Kitts and Nevis. Raised in the very humble surroundings of Prickley Pear Alley, Basseterre, St. John pursued a career path which was not defined by the stringent limitations of his economic means. As the son of a humble and God-fearing woman, he cultured an enduring strength of character that propelled him through the difficult years of his youth, when, under the weight of his circumstances he had to join the work force at the tender age of thirteen. His determination to achieve earned him a university.
His distinguished career commenced when he responded to the call by the late Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw to serve in the process of nation building. Over the period, 1971 – 1980 he was Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Housing and Labour and Minister of Trade, Industry, Development and Social Security at different intervals.
He will be remembered for his sterling contribution to the revolutionizing of the Sugar Industry, and for the positive role he played in spearheading the Agricultural Diversification Programme. Of all his years in the service of the people, St. John considered his input in the development of the Social Security Scheme as his greatest accomplishment. His special intimacy on this subject was reflected in his passionate literary discourse entitled: The History of Social Security in St. Kitts and Nevis: Past Present and Future.
After the short lull in his political career, during which time he migrated to Canada to seek a fresh start, St. John then returned to the Federation in the mid 1990s, where he served with distinction as Ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis to the Caribbean Community, the Association of Caribbean States and The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and subsequently as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.
Honours and awards
He was the recipient of the Companion of Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Esmond St John Payne died on 22 August 2002, aged 65.