The Right Excellent Sir Simeon Daniel, NH
National Hero of St. Kitts and Nevis
The Right Excellent Sir Simeon Daniel, NH (22 August 1934 – 27 May 2012) was a former Premier of Nevis. He is a National Hero of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Early life and education
The Right Excellent Sir Simeon Daniel, NH was born on 22 August 1934 at Barnes Ghaut Village in Saint Thomas Lowland Parish, Nevis, to Joseph Daniel and Melvina Daniel, née Archer. He received his early education at St. Thomas’ Government Elementary School in Nevis. He entered the teaching profession as a Pupil Teacher in 1950 and attained the Leeward Island Teachers’ Certificate in 1957.
Sir Simeon began his legal tuition at the Council of Legal Education School of Law England in 1962. While still a student (1960-1966) he worked as a clerk at the London County Council and later as an Executive Officer, and in 1965 received a recognition grant for outstanding meritorious work from the said Institution. He continued his education at the Inner Temple of the Inns of Court in London. In 1966 he became Barrister at Law and was called to the Bar in England.
He returned to Nevis in 1966 and served as Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and was admitted to the Local Bar that same year. The following year Sir Simeon was appointed Crown Counsel and later Registrar of the Supreme Court and Additional Magistrate in the State. He entered Private practice in 1969 in St. Kitts - Nevis.
In 1970, Sir Simeon was among the founding members of a political party called the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP).
He served as Chairman of the Local Council from 1972 to 1980 and was elected to the National Assembly in May 1975 and February 1980. With Dr. Kennedy Simmonds and the Peoples Action Movement (PAM) he and the other leaders of the Nevis Reformation Party formed the first coalition government to govern the affairs of St. Kitts and Nevis in 1980. In the coalition, Sir Simeon assumed the portfolios of Minister of Finance and Nevis Affairs on 19 February 1980. He had a major role in framing the Independence Constitution of St. Kitts and Nevis, which led to the return of government to Nevis on Independence Day, September 19, 1983, with the formation of the Nevis Island Administration.
Sir Simeon was the first Premier of Nevis from 19 September 1983 (Independence Day) to 2 June 1992. During his tenure as Premier and leader of the Nevis Reformation Party he was instrumental in improving basic quality of life services for Nevisians; reliable electricity, water and improved roads. The Government run preschools were opened in Nevis for the first time; the Nevis Sixth Form College was established and a multipurpose center was set up for the welfare of educating the masses.
Land ownership became a reality for Nevisians, when under Sir Simeon the Land Reform Program was set up and it became the first such program in the OECS. The Nevis Housing and Land Development Corporation gave land ownership to ordinary Nevisians at $3,000 per half acre and $6,000 per acre. In addition, domains for residences were newly established in Ramsbury, Cades Bay, Hamilton, Prospect and other areas around Nevis.
A new trust was seen in Tourism; when under his leadership he attracted the Four Seasons Hotel to Nevis, bringing much needed employment to its residents. A visionary leader, he was a driving force in the establishment of the Nevis Financial Sector. Sir Simeon was instrumental in laying the foundation for the developments that was essential for moving Nevis forward.
In 1992 his party lost the local election, and his successor was Vance Amory of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM).
Outside of the political arena, Sir Simeon established the Bank of Nevis Ltd. in 1985. He also founded Daniel, Brantley & Associates, a full service law firm that represents numerous businesses and individuals in St. Kitts & Nevis, Anguilla and throughout the region and internationally. In 1996 Mark Brantley, the current Opposition Leader in St. Kitts and Nevis, joined the firm. After retirement, Sir Simeon remained as Senior Partner and consultant in the firm.
Sir Simeon was the recipient of several awards, including Doctor of Laws (Honorary), Marquis Giuseppe Scicluna International University Foundation in 1987; Albert Einstein Bronze Medal for Peace; Albert Einstein Bronze International Academy Foundation in 1987; and the International Order of Merit Medal by the International Biographic Centre of Cambridge England in 2000. The International Biographic Centre of Cambridge England inducted him in their hall of fame for outstanding work in the field of Government in 2005. He also received an Award of Commendation as Founder and Supporter of Bank Of Nevis Ltd.
Sir Simeon was survived by six children and his wife Sheila Henville Daniel. Four of his children were by his first wife, Rosita Browne.
Death and legacy
Sir Simeon died at his home in Brazier’s Estate, St. John’s Parish on Sunday, 27 May 2012 at the age of 77 after battling cancer for a number of years. He was buried on Tuesday, 5 June 2012 at St. Thomas’ Anglican with full military honours
In 2012, the Centre for the Performing Arts in Nevis was named in Sir Simeon's honour.
On 16 September 2013, during the celebrations marking the 30th Independence Anniversary, The Right Excellent Sir Simeon Daniel was awarded The Order of National Hero.