Updated: View Site Map Site Map
Paul Southwell
(18 July 1913 – 18 May 1979)
The Right Excellent Sir Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell, NH
Former Chief Minister and National Hero of St. Kitts and Nevis

Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell (18 July 1913 - 18 May 1979) was the second Premier and first Chief Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis. He also worked as a teacher, police officer, and trade unionist.

Early life and education

Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell was born in Dominican the 18 July 1913 to Joseph and Amelia Southwell.  He attended elementary school and became a teacher at the age of thirteen years then he went on to obtain the Leeward Islands Teachers Certificate. In 1938 he joined the Leeward Islands Police Force, a job that took him to Antigua, Montserrat, St.Kitts and Nevis. He stayed with the Force for six years.


In 1944 Southwell found employment as time-keeper and assistant stock clerk at the St.Kitts (Basseterre) Sugar Factory. It was at this time he was recruited into the Labour Movement by France and Bradshaw and for the next ten years he assisted as part-time organiser of the St.Kitts-Nevis Trade Union becoming its Vice President in 1947. During that same year, Southwell attempted to obtain a pay raise but only succeeded in getting himself fired. In 1948 he was in the forefront with other Union leaders organising the Thirteen Week Strike. During the Arbitration that followed, Southwell lead the team that argued the case of the workers in the Union. Following his dismissal from the Factory, Southwell spent a year representing workers free of cost to the Union. Eventually he was appointed the first sole organiser with a wage of $15 a week. During that time he also functioned as associate editor of The Union Messenger.

His talent for writing and his political awareness came together in the publication of two pamphlets – The truth about Operation Blackburn and The Union – What it is, What it does. “the latter co-authored with Robert Bradshaw.

Paul Southwell was elected to the Legislature in 1952 and appointed to the Executive Council in 1955. The following year, when a ministerial system was introduced, Southwell took the portfolio of Communications and Works. Hoping for even more extensive constitutional changes, Southwell lead a delegation to London in 1959 and this resulted in the introduction of a constitution granting a full ministerial system in 1960. The post of Chief Minister was created and the subject of Finance which was previously under the jurisdiction of an overseas official, passed into ministerial hands. With Bradshaw in the Federal House in Trinidad, Southwell became Chief Minister, a post he held until 1966.

In 1965, the sugar industry employers, refused to grant an increase in wages and refused to request the Sugar Industry Price Stabilization Funds which were available to pay for increase. In his role as Chief Minister, Southwell ensured that legislation was enacted to draw money from the Sugar Cess Funds to pay for the increases. This step, which was subsequently emulated by Barbados and Trinidad, drew considerable resistance from the employers and led to the Campbell Commission of Inquiry into the Sugar Industry before which both Bradshaw and Southwell conducted themselves with distinction.

St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla assumed the status of Statehood in association with Great Britain in 1967 and Southwell became Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, Trade, Development, Industry and Tourism. Over the years he found himself very much involved in regional organisations. He was Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Association and Chairman of the West Indies Associated States Council of Ministers. Following the death of Bradshaw in 1978, he was appointed Premier.

Personal life

Southwell was married to Gladys Southwell and they had six daughters and five sons.

Southwell was keenly interested in the arts and in sports. He was President of the Mutual Improvement Society, and a devotee of the works of William Shakepeare. The State’s Art Festival of 1964 was his brainchild. In sports he was the founder of the Chief Minister’s Cricket XI in 1960 and later President of the St.Kitts Cricket Association. He was also an enthusiastic golf player. Southwell pioneered the economic diversification in St. Kitts and Nevis. The industrial site is named in his honour and is called the C.A. Paul Southwell Industrial Park.

Death and legacy

Paul Southwell died suddenly of heart disease (hypertension and coronary insufficiency) on the 18 May 1979 while chairing a meeting of the West Indies Associated States Council of Ministers in Castries, St. Lucia. He was 65. He had been Premier for less than a year.

Southwell was accorded a state funeral on Tuesday, 29 May 1979 at St. George's Cathedral in Basseterre, St. Kitts.

In 2004 on the eve of celebrations to mark the 21st Anniversary of Independence, Mr Southwell was given the title of Knight Commander of the National Hero posthumously. Sir Paul Southwell.

Southwell pioneered the economic diversification in St. Kitts and Nevis. The industrial site is named in his honour and is called the C.A. Paul Southwell Industrial Park.

The Virgin Islands Daily News, May 30, 1979
Fact Check
We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, or if you would like to share additional information on the topic, kindly contact us!
How to Reference Our Site
To reference our site, please use the following as a general guideline.
APA: KnowledgeWalk Institute. (Date Published).Title of Web Page. Retrieved from (URL)
MLA: "Title of Web Page." caribbeanelections.com. KnowledgeWalk Institute, (date published). Web. Date Accessed.
Chicago: "Title of Web Page," KnowledgeWalk Institute, last modified (date), URL.
Caleb Azariah Paul Southwell
Occupation Politician
Date of Birth 18 July 1913
Place of Birth Dominica
Date of Death 18 May 1979 (aged 65)
Place of Death Castries, St. Lucia
Notable Accomplishments
Chief Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and Anguilla: July 1966 – 27 February 1967
Premier of St. Kitts and Nevis and Anguilla: 23 May 1978 – 18 May 1979
National Hero of St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts and Nevis
Heads of Government of St. Kitts and Nevis
National Heroes of St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP)

 Caribbean Leaders
 Caribbean Nobel Laureates
 Women in Caribbean Politics
 National Heroes
 Order of the Caribbean Community Recipients
Caribbean Elections
Caribbean Elections provides comprehensive information on the electoral process, politics, and citizenship in the Caribbean. The portal includes election data and resources for the public, teachers, students, and researchers.
Learn more about CE»
Visit KnowledgeWalk Institute © 2008-2019 KnowledgeWalk Institute. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Statement | Terms of Use  | Advertise With Us | About Us | Contact Us