Roseau – Dominica’s first prime minister, Patrick Roland John, died Tuesday, the state-owned DBS Radio has reported. He was 83 years old.
The cause of death was not disclosed, but John, the island’s last premier, had in recent years been suffering from diabetes and had one of his legs amputated in 2016. He died at the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital where he was taken on Monday night.
John, led Dominica to independence from the United Kingdom on November 3 1978 and was the leader of the Waterfront and Allied Workers’ Union (WAWU) and mayor of Roseau before being elected to the legislature in 1970.
He entered Parliament as a member of E.O. LeBlanc’s ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP), holding several ministerial posts and when LeBlanc resigned in 1974, John succeeded him as prime minister.
He was eventually forced to resign in June 1979 after widespread protests and after several of his cabinet ministers deserted the party.