Former Cabinet Minister, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Yvonne Christina Francis-Gibson was an activist, politician, and former parliamentarian in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Yvonne Christina Francis-Gibson (née Harry) was born in St. Vincent on 26 March 1931. She attended the Lowmans Leeward Anglican School, Kingstown Methodist School and the Girls’ High School.
Her teaching career commenced at the Kingstown Methodist School. She then taught at the Girls’ High School, Lowmans Leeward Anglican, Barrouallie Anglican, Belair Methodist and Belmont Government. She was appointed Head Teacher at the Brighton Methodist School in 1967.
Having served at the Brighton Methodist, as principal for thirteen years, she was transferred to the Kingstown Methodist in 1980, where she completed her teaching career in 1985.
Francis-Gibson was also an activist in the trade union movement very early in her teaching career and moved through the ranks in that movement, to the position of president in 1979, and served in that capacity for three two-year terms.
In 1981, as President of the SVG Teachers Association, she led the march against the "Dread Bills" under the rallying cry "kill the bill". In 1975, she was a central figure in the "Remember November" teachers strike and was tear-gassed and jailed for it by the then Labour government.
In 1985, she became the first co-ordinator of the Women’s Desk; an institution established the New Democratic Party (NDP) government, in fulfillment of its 1984 manifesto promise.
After her retirement from the teaching service in 1987, Francis-Gibson became the first co-ordinator of the Women's Desk. Elected to the House of Assembly as representative for West St. George on a New Democratic Party (NDP) ticket in 1989, Mrs Francis-Gibson served as Minister of State with the responsibility for Women's Affairs and Education in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Youth, and Women's Affairs with responsibility for non-formal Education from 13 June 1989 to 13 January 1994.
After her second victory at the polls in 1994, she became the first woman to be appointed as Minister of Health, with the Environment being added to her portfolio in 1996. She served in that role from 21 March 1994 to 18 December 1997. From 12 February 1998 to 12 March 1998, Francis-Gibson served as Minister in the Prime Minister's Office.
Her active political life ended in 1998 because of ill health.
Francis-Gibson was the mother of son Leroy Ellsworth Harry.
Yvonne Francis-Gibson died at her home at Fountain on Saturday, 7 July 2018, aged 87. Her funeral took place on Monday, 23 July 2018 at the Kingstown Methodist Church, St. Vincent, followed y burial at the Belain Cemetery.