His Excellency Crispin Anselm Sorhaindo, DAH, OBE
Former President of the Commonwealth of Dominica
President of Dominica, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Vice-President and a Director of the Caribbean Development Bank, Financial Secretary of Dominica, Clerk of the Executive and Legislative Councils.
Early life and education
Crispin Sorhaindo was born at Vieille Case, Dominica on 23 May 1931. He was educated at the Vieille Case Government School where his father Clive A. Sorhaindo was Principal. He attended the Dominica Grammar School and later, after some years in the public service, the Overseas Service Course at Trinity College, University of Oxford (1956-1957) as well as the Royal Institute of Public Administration, Public Finance Course (1963-1964).
From 1950 to 1973 he served in various posts in the public service including Clerk of the Executive and Legislative Councils, which preceded the establishment of the House of Assembly. He was Chief Establishment Officer, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Finance, and Financial Secretary. Earlier in his career he was a member of the Music Lovers Government Band. From 1973 to 1988 he worked with the Caribbean Development Bank based in Barbados as Bank Secretary, Director and Vice-President during that period.
On his return to Dominica in 1988, he accepted the position of Speaker of the Dominica House of Assembly (1989-1993) and then was elected President of Dominica, serving one term (1993-1998). At the same time as being in these positions he served the country in numerous other capacities, most notably as secretary, in 1963, of the Civil Service Commission on the Proposed East Caribbean Federation, hoping to form a nation of “the little eight” that remained out of the collapsed West Indies Federation (1958-1962). Also a pioneer member and chairman of the local AID Bank, National Provident Fund, later Social Security, Port Authority, National Commercial Bank of Dominica and Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission (ECSRC) among others.
He was a delegate at the London conference in 1966 that created Dominica as a self-governing Associated State of Britain (1967-1978). He is a committed regionalist and has wide experience in all of the recent attempts, and successes, at various types of Caribbean integration, representing Dominica at the early conferences leading to the establishment of Carifta, the Caribbean Free Trade Area and CARICOM, the Caribbean Common Market that succeeded it, as well as those meetings that laid the foundations for the establishment of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
He is a devout Roman Catholic and has served the church in many capacities as a member, chairman and president of committees and boards particularly those to help the aged and develop the social and welfare activities of the church such as the Social Centre, Help Age International and REACH. In recognition of these services he received the Papal award of Knight Commander of the Order of St. Sylvester in 1993.
Honours and awards
Sorhaindo received the Papal award of Knight Commander of the Order of St. Sylvester in 1993 and was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1969, the Venezuelan Naval Medal Almirante Luis Brion in 1998 and the Dominica Award of Honour in 2001.
He is married to Ruby (nee Allport) and they have six children.
Sorhaindo died on 10 January 2010 following a long battle with cancer. He was 78. He was accorded a state funeral on Monday, 18 January 2010 at Our Lady of Fair Haven Cathedral, Roseau.