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Compton, Sir John

Sir John Compton (John George Melvin Compton), 1925–2007, St. Lucian political leader, b. Canouan, Windward Islands (now in St. Vincent and the Grenadines). Compton attended high school in St. Lucia, where his family had moved, and after working in the oil industry in Curaçao and studying law in Great Britain, he returned (1951) to St. Lucia to practice law. Elected to St. Lucia's House of Assembly in 1954, he gained prominence in the labor movement. In 1961 he founded what became (1964) the conservative United Workers' party (UWP), and in 1964 he became St. Lucia's chief minister (premier from 1967). Although earlier a supporter of the West Indies Federation, its failure led him to campaign for St. Lucia's independence from Britain. Compton secured more autonomy in 1967 and his ultimate goal in 1979, when he became the young nation's first prime minister, but the UWP was voted out of office later that year. Compton and the UWP returned to power in 1982, and he remained prime minister until he retired in 1996. In 2006 he returned to politics to lead the UWP to power again, but he suffered a stroke in 2007 and subsequently died in office.

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