Kennedy Alphonse Simmonds was born on 12th April, 1936 in Basseterre St. Kitts, the son of Ms. Bronte Clarke and the late Mr. Arthur Simmonds.
He received his Elementary Education at the Basseterre Boy’s School.
In 1945, by virtue of his outstanding performance in the entrance examination for the St. Kitts-Nevis Grammar School, he was awarded a Scholarship to enter that Institution.
At the age of nine years and nine months, he was the youngest student ever to be enrolled at the Grammar School, being at least two years below the average of those accepted.
He was a consistent student who came at or near the top of his class in most if not all of his subjects.
He developed his keen interest in sports, and was noted for a spirit of competitiveness that was always tempered by an even greater spirit of sportsmanship.
He took part in extra-curricular activities and laid the foundation for his future life.
Most important of all, he developed a natural flair for leadership along with a sense of responsibility and idealism.
Some of the positions he held in the school’s Establishment attest to the promise which he showed in those early years.
He was captain of the school’s Under Fourteen Cricket Team. He captained the school’s Senior Cricket Team. He was captain of Blue House. He was a member of the school’s Football Team. He was the school’s Head Prefect. He was President of the school’s Literary and Debating Society.
In 1956 he crowned an already distinguished school career by topping the results of the Cambridge Higher School Certificate Examination in the Leeward Islands, and winning the coveted Leeward Island Scholarship. On leaving school, he nurtured his dramatic talent by becoming a member of the Basseterre Players Theatre Group.
He worked for a year as Senior Bench Chemist at the Sugar Association Research Laboratory in St. Kitts in 1955. In due course, he decided to take up medicine as a career, and was accepted at the University of The West Indies(MONA).
In 1955 also, he went into residence at Chancellor Hall and was elected Chairman of Block “C” Chancellor Hall, thus becoming a member of the Chancellor Hall Committee. He remained active in Sports, and gained selection on the University Cricket Team. He was also Secretary of the University’s Cricket Club.
Having had a strong religious background, he took time to become a Founding Member and Treasurer of the U.W.I. Methodist Society.
Graduating in 1962, he did his medical internship at the Kingston Public Hospital, Jamaica in 1963. He returned home to St. Kitts in 1964, a qualified Medical Doctor, and began what was to become a successful and highly regarded Professional Practice. His first appointment was in Anguilla in 1964.
In 1965, he became a Founding Member of the People’s Action Movement, (P.A.M), which was formed as a Political Party in Opposition to the ruling St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party headed by the late Robert Bradshaw.
In 1966 he contested a political seat in the general elections and lost.
He then took a leave of absence in 1966 to pursue Post-graduate studies, first in the Bahamas, where he was a Staff Doctor, and Registrar in Internal Medicine at the Princess Margaret Hospital, under Consultant Dr. John Lunn.
In 1968, he left the Bahamas and entered a Residency program in Anesthesiology at the Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, U.S.A., becoming Chief Resident in 1969. Also in 1969 he returned to the University of the West Indies at Mona to take the Diploma in Anaesthesia ( D.A.) examination, and was successful.
In 1970, he was awarded the Fellowship of the American College of Anesthesiologists, having successfully completed the necessary examination requirements.
The following year, in 1971, he again contested a seat in the general election, and lost
.In 1975, he again contested a seat in the general elections and again he lost.
He was elected President of the P.A.M. in 1976. In the previous eleven (11) years he had been First Vice President.
In January 1979, following the death of Robert Bradshaw the previous May, he contested the by-election to fill the vacant Central Basseterre seat. At the count, he was loser by thirteen votes, but there were ninety-nine rejected ballots, most of which he contended were good votes cast for him.
He petitioned the High Court for a recount, and on that recount was declared winner by twenty-two votes. His opponent, Anthony Ribeiro, appealed against this decision and lost, confirming Kennedy Simmonds as the first person to be elected in a political election in the island of St. Kitts who was not a member of the Labour Party, which had been continuously in power from 1952.
Rather than acknowledge his election victory and swear him in as the first Kittitian Member of the Opposition, the Labour Party decided to dissolve the House of Assembly and called General Elections ten months early. In so doing they effectively and legally nullified the courts decision in his favour, but they equally effectively put their own seats in jeopardy.
P.A.M. won three seats, and formed a Coalition Government with the Nevis Reformation Party (N.R.P.).
Three years later as Premier, Dr. Simmonds performed what many called “the impossible.” He led the tiny country of St. Kitts and Nevis into full Independence from Great Britain. As the world opened its arms to receive into her embrace the former British dependency of 45,000 people, the Federation’s first Prime Minister – Dr. Kennedy Alphonse Simmonds, with the watch words, “Prosperity for All”, made his leadership a success story. He led St. Kitts and Nevis to achieve the highest level of per capita income growth in the entire Caribbean and Latin America in the period 1981-1991 ( World Bank).
In Government, Prime Minister Simmonds has demonstrated a capacity for moderation, an even and balanced temperament in the face of difficult responsibilities and even crisis.
The sincere disposition of Kennedy Simmonds is undoubtedly a major factor in the greatest achievement of the PAM/NRP Coalition Government, namely the survival of the new relationship between St. Kitts and Nevis.
Before the formation of this alliance, Nevis was on the brink of secession from St. Kitts. Only a miracle, it seemed, could avoid a Nevisian rebellion against the impending joint move to Independence by the former Labour Government without due regard for the wishes of Nevis.
Prime Minister Simmonds was successful at the polls in 1984, 1989, and again in 1993. Under his capable guidance the nation flourished. Truly a leader of excellent repute.
On Independence Day September 19th 2015 Rt. Hon Dr. Sir Kennedy Simmonds, the first Prime Minister of St. Kitts-Nevis was honored with the title of National Hero. The announcement come from the newly elected Prime Minister of St.Kitts-Nevis Dr. Timothy Harris during his address at the 32nd Independence Day celebrations. This would make Sir Kennedy Simmonds the first and only living National Hero of the twin island federation.
Dr. Simmonds is a family man. the father of five, Pauline, Michael, Kennedy, Kenrick and Keris, Sir Kennedy is married to the former Mary Matthew. Recreation for the Prime Minister includes playing his favourite game – tennis, reading and enjoying a wide variety of sports.
- Leeward Island Scholar 1954
- Graduated With Degree in Medicine UCWI – 1962
- Fellowship of the American College of Anesthesiologists – 1970
- First UWI Graduate Elected To Head A Caribbean Country – 1980
- Honoured “Super Lion” – Chancellor Hall, University of The West Indies
- Republic Of Columbia – Presented Key to The City – 1981
- First Prime Minister Of St. Kitts and Nevis – 1983
- Appointed To Her Majesty’s Privy Council – 1984
- Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy, University of South Florida – 1989
- Order of The Liberator, Venezuela’s Highest Civilian Honour – 1991
- Lion’s International President’s Award – 1992
- Eastern Caribbean Central Bank 10th Anniversary Award – 1993
- September 16,2004, honoured by Her Majesty the Queen with a knighthood, being
- Made a KNIGHT COMMANDER OF THE MOST DISTINGUISHED ORDER OF ST.MICHAEL AND ST. GEORGE (K.C.M.G.). The investiture was performed by the Queen at Buckingham Palace on November 16, 2004.
- Awarded Medal of Honour by Anguilla May 30, 2005
- Appointed to the International Advisory Council of the National Cancer Coalition of the U.S.A. January 2006.
- In September 2015 Awarded the Federation of St.Kitts-Nevis’ highest distinction of National Hero and became St.Kitts-Nevis’ Fifth and ONLY Living National Hero.