Sir John George Melvin Compton, was a Saint Lucian politician who served as the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia on three occasions: briefly in 1979, again from 1982 to 1996, and from 2006 until his death in 2007. Compton, who previously led Saint Lucia under British rule from 1964 to 1979, was the country’s first leader when it became independent in February 1979. He led the conservative United Workers Party (UWP) from 1964 until 1996, and again from 2005 to 2007.
Compton was born in 1925 in Canouan, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, In September 1939, he was taken to Saint Lucia. His political career began in 1954, when he ran as an independent for the seat from Micoud/Dennery in Saint Lucia and was elected. He was appointed to the Executive Council and, under the Committee System then used, became Member for Social Affairs until the end of the Committee System in 1956. In the latter year, he joined the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP). He notably participated in a sugar workers’ strike in 1957, and was fined for obstructing roads. Re-elected in 1957, he became Minister for Trade and Production in 1958, and also became deputy leader of the SLP, under George Charles. In 1960 he was named Minister of Trade and Industry under Charles, who became Chief Minister. Compton was again re-elected in 1961, but chose not to join the Executive Council; he quit the SLP and along with his supporters he formed a new party, the National Labour Movement, in the same year.
In 1964, together with another opposition party, the People’s Progressive Party, he and the National Labour Movement formed a new party, the United Workers’ Party (UWP). This new party won the election held in June 1964, and Compton became Chief Minister.
The Saint Lucian government fully in charge of the island’s internal affairs, on 1 March 1967, Compton became St. Lucia’s first and only Premier.
Following the UWP’s victory in the 1974 election, Compton pushed for negotiations leading to independence, which was achieved on 22 February 1979; Compton became the newly independent nation’s first Prime Minister.
A few months after independence, the UWP was defeated in an election by the SLP, and Compton became Leader of the Opposition. The SLP government collapsed in January 1982, and the UWP won the subsequent election in May 1982; Compton became Prime Minister again. He remained in office until he retired in 1996; he was replaced by his chosen successor, Vaughan Lewis.
On 13 March 2005, the UWP elected Compton, then 80 years old, as its leader again at a party convention in Soufriere; Compton led the UWP to victory on 11 December 2006;. He was sworn in as Prime Minister on 15 December.
After serving for a few months Sir John, passed away in September of 2007.