|Louis Bertrand George
Former Cabinet Minister, Saint Lucia
Louis Bertrand George (1950 – 2 January 2014) was a Saint Lucian politician. He was born in 1950 to Pierre George and Margarette George of Up The Line Micoud. A trained teacher and a trained agriculturalist, was a fixture in the Sir John Compton and Dr. Vaughn Lewis UWP administrations.
Early life and education
Louis Bertrand George was born in Micoud, St. Lucia on October 10, 1950. He was the first born of nine surviving children of Pierre and Marguerite George.
Early in his life, his father travelled overseas to seek employment and the day to day responsibility for nurturing Louis fell to his mother from whom he obtained the caring, modest and independent personality which was the nature of the man.
Upon his return from overseas, his father, who was an accomplished and successful farmer and musician, provided inspiration and was the perfect role model for Louis, who turned out to be a keen agriculturist himself, as well as a devoted educator and later on a politician.
Louis was educated at the Micoud Infant and Primary Schools and the Vieux Fort Secondary School, which he entered in 1963, being among the first group of students admitted to the institution. There he developed a reputation as an accomplished athlete and soon became a member of the school’s sprint and relay teams. He was also a member of the school’s Cadet Corps in which he rose to the rank of corporal.
At the end of his secondary school education in 1970, he was appointed a teacher at the Micoud Primary School and that same year was accepted as a student teacher at the St. Lucia Teachers’ College. On completing his studies and receiving the Qualified Teaching Certificate (UWI) in 1972, Louis took up appointment as a qualified teacher at the Micoud Junior Secondary School. There he taught general science, music and mathematics.
In 1977 Louis George proceeded to the Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry (ECIAF) in Trinidad to pursue studies in agriculture. He graduated in 1979 with a diploma in agriculture and upon his return to Saint Lucia he took on a senior appointment with Geest Industries Limited.
In 1982, after capturing the Micoud North seat, he served as a Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office.
He was later assigned to the Ministry of Education as a junior minister, soon after to be appointed minister for education and culture. His ability and competence were further tested with the subsequent addition of the portfolio of labour to his ministerial responsibilities.
In his capacity as minister for education, culture and labour, he made an outstanding contribution both nationally and at the regional level. The confidence and trust which he engendered both within his constituency and as a minister led to his re-election in four succeeding General Elections. During his tenure, he also served as deputy prime minister.
Notable among his achievements as minister for education were:
- The consolidation and transformation of the three independent colleges (the Teachers’ College, the A-level College and the Technical College) at Morne Fortune into the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC).
- The establishment of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) Southern Division
- The introduction of the post-secondary programme at Vieux Fort Comprehensive School-Campus B
- The successful establishment of the University of the West Indies (UWI) bachelor of education (B.Ed) programme and the introduction of the first two years of UWI’s Social Sciences programme at SALCC.
- The end to discrimination against Rastafarian children in schools, allowing them to attend regular schooling.
George was the lone opposition Parliamentarian when the SLP swept the 1997 general elections, 16-1. The long serving MP would assume the position of Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition from 1997-2001.
Before entering the arena of active politics, George held a senior position at Geest Industries in Saint Lucia and operated a successful farm in Micoud.
Honours and awards
Following his retirement he was awarded the Saint Lucia Cross in 2009 for his contribution to national development especially in the field of education.
He was married to Agnes Joseph George and the father of six Tricia, Yvonne, Shaka, Scham, Shadir, Mariyo.
Louis George died at the St. Jude’s Hospital on Thursday, 2 January 2014, after a prolonged illness. He was 63. He was accorded an official funeral at the St. Lucy’s Roman Catholic Church in Micoud on Saturday, 18 January 2014.