James Ronald Webster
First Chief Minister of Anguilla
James Ronald Webster (born 2 March 1926) is a politician from Anguilla. He served as the island territory's Chief Minister from 10 February 1976 to 1 February 1977 and again from May 1980 to 12 March 1984.
James Ronald Webster was born on 2 March 1926 in Anguilla.
Prior to serving as Chief Minister, Webster was designated Chairman of the Anguilla Island Council when the territory declared its independence from the Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla government in 1967, through the Anguillan Revolution which he led. Anguillans forced the Saint Kitts officials and police off of the island, due to alleged mistreatment of the public and governmental misuse of funds (as an example, Anguilla received financial assistance from Canada to build a pier on the island; the money was sent to the central government on Saint Kitts, and a pier was built - on Saint Kitts).
In a referendum held on 11 July the inhabitants of Anguilla voted overwhelmingly to secede from the Associated State and to become a separate colony of Britain. Britain sent an advisor, Tony Lee, to exercise an "interim basic administrative authority" in conjunction with Ronald Webster, from January 1968 to January 1969; St. Kitts refused to extend the interim agreement and the British authorities left. In February 1969 islanders voted again to remain separate from Saint Kitts and Nevis and to become an "independent republic".
A British Junior Minister from the UK arrived in March 1969 to establish another "interim agreement", and was expelled within hours of arrival. Eight days later 315 British paratroopers and two frigates arrived to "restore order". Tony Lee was installed as a Commissioner for local administration.
An interim agreement in 1971 was followed by a new constitution in 1976. In 1980 Anguilla was formally separated from Saint Kitts and Nevis and became a British colony again.
Webster was married to Cleopatra Webster.
Death and legacy
Webster's birthday, 2 March, has been celebrated as a public holiday in Anguilla since its proclamation in 2010.
Webster died on 9 December 2016, aged 90. Webster will be given a state funeral at a date to be announced and that day will be a public holiday.