BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS (February 23rd 2017) – A date has been announced for the official launch of the Robert L. Bradshaw Institute of Governance, Politics and Industrial Relations.
National Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) and Leader of the Opposition, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said the institute will be launched at a public lecture on Thursday March 2nd 2017.
Dr. Douglas told a Town Hall Meeting Wednesday night that the guest speaker at the launch will be the distinguished Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves.
The launch of the institute is part of the activities to mark the centenary of his birth.
Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw was born on 16 September 1916 and was the first Premier of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla. He previously served as Chief Minister, legislator, and trade union activist.
Bradshaw was born in St. Paul, St. Kitts to Mary Jane Francis, a domestic servant, and William Bradshaw, a blacksmith. He was raised by his grandmother after his father moved to the United States when Bradshaw was nine months old. He attended St. Paul’s Primary School and completed seventh grade, the highest level of primary education available at the time.
At 16, Bradshaw became a machine apprentice at the St. Kitts Sugar Factory, where he began to take interest in the labour movement. In 1940, he left the sugar factory following a strike for higher wages and joined the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union as a clerk. Bradshaw succeeded Joseph Matthew Sebastian as president of the union in 1944.
In 1963 he married, Millicent Sahely. Bradshaw has two daughters, Etsu and Isis.
Bradshaw supported the cause of the sugar workers, and was one of the political stalwarts of the country. He entered politics in 1946 and won a seat in the Legislative Council in the elections that year, later becoming a member of the Executive Council. In 1956 he was Minister of Trade and Production for St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla. During the short-lived West Indies Federation (from 1958 to 1962), Bradshaw was elected to the Federal House of Representatives and held the post of Minister of Finance.
After the break-up of the Federation, Bradshaw returned to St. Kitts from Trinidad. In 1966 he became Chief Minister, and in 1967 the first Premier of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, then an associated state of the United Kingdom. Under his leadership, all sugar lands as well as the central sugar factory were bought by the government.
Having won the 1975 general election and receiving the mandate to take St. Kitts and Nevis into Independence, Bradshaw travelled to London in 1977 for independence talks with the United Kingdom government.
Bradshaw died on 23 May 1978 of prostate cancer at his home in Basseterre and was succeeded by his former deputy, Paul Southwell. He is buried in Springfield Cemetery in Basseterre.
The Social Security building in Basseterre is named in his honour and in 1996, Bradshaw was posthumously awarded the title of First National Hero by the National Assembly of St. Kitts and Nevis and is honoured annually on National Heroes Day, which is observed on his birthday.]
On the inaugural National Heroes Day in 1998, the Golden Rock Airport in St. Kitts was renamed the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport in his honour.
In 2007, the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw Memorial Park was dedicated at his birthplace in St. Paul’s with the unveiling of a statue donated by Cuba’s President Fidel Castro.
On 17 September 2010, the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw building was dedicated on the Windsor University School of Medicine campus in Cayon.