| Dr. Kenneth Lee O’Neil ‘Ken’ Baugh, OJ
Former Deputy Prime Minister, Jamaica
Dr. Kenneth Lee O’Neil ‘Ken’ Baugh was a Jamaican politician and former Deputy Prime Minister
Early life and education
Kenneth Lee O’Neil Baugh was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica on 24 February 1941, the fourth of 10 children. He was educated at the prestigious Cornwall College High School before attending the University of the West Indies and then, Royal College of Surgeons in England.
Baugh was an outstanding medical doctor and consultant surgeon by profession. His passion for health and the quality of life of Jamaicans extended to his political career, which began in 1980. In that year, he defeated Howard Cooke of the People’s National Party (PNP) in the St James North Western constituency by 4,272 votes.
He became the health minister of the Edward Seaga-led government and successfully served his term between 1980 to 1989. When Seaga lost the 1989 election, Baugh became the Opposition Spokesperson on health and served as Opposition senator from 1989 to 1993.
He then briefly replaced Edward Seaga as Leader of the Opposition in January 2005, following the former Prime Minister’s resignation. When Bruce Golding took over leadership of the country in 2007, Baugh served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. Throughout his career, he served as general secretary and chairman of the JLP. After his party lost the 2011 general election he served as Member of Parliament and opposition spokesman on health and quality of life.
He was also a former general secretary and former chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party.
He held the St Catherine West Central seat from 1997 to his retirement in 2015. Baugh retired from representational politics in 2015 due to ill-health and underwent brain surgery later that year. Despite his successful surgery, Baugh still battled with other health issues.
Honours and awards
In 2015, he was bestowed with the Order of Jamaica (OJ) for distinguished service to Parliament, public service, and for his contribution to medicine.
Baugh was married to wife Vilma and was the father of two sons and one daughter.
Baugh died at 10:05 a.m. on Sunday, 1 September 2019. He was 78.