Sir Probyn Ellsworth Inniss, MBE
Former Governor of St. Kitts and Nevis
Sir Probyn Ellsworth Inniss was a former Governor of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Early life and edcuation
Sir Probyn Innis was born on 18 november 1936 in St. Kitts where he received his primary and secondary education. After graduating from the University of the West Indies in 1961, he taught at the St. Kitts-Nevis Grammar School for some years. He later read law at the Inns of Court School of Law in London and was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple.
He had a distinguished career in the public service of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla culminating in his appointment as Governor on 1 August 1975, at the tender age of 39 - the youngest person ever to be named Governor.
In 1965, Sir Probyn served as Secretary to the Campbell Commission into the Sugar Industry in St. Kitts. The following year, he served as Administrative Secretary for the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to St. Kitts and Nevis in February 1966. In 1967, Sir Probyn became a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Sir Probyn Inniss performed the important role of Secretary to the Cabinet between 1967 and 1969, and served as Permanent Secretary for External Affairs during that time. Sir Probyn also served as Permanent Secretary for the Establishments (Personnel) Division.
From 1974 to 1975, Sir Probyn served as Crown Counsel and as Governor from 1975 to 1981. During his term in office as Governor, there were three changes in government, with Robert Bradshaw, Paul Southwell, Sir Lee Moore, and Sir Kennedy Simmonds all serving as Premier at various stages. In 1981, Inniss refused assent to a bill that had been passed by the Simmonds government, in the belief that it was unconstitutional. Simmonds consequently wrote to Elizabeth II to request the removal of his commission as governor, which occurred in November of that year.
After leaving office in 1981, he has been in private law practice and served as Senior Partner in the law firm of Inniss and Inniss from 1988 up until his death.
He has also authored books on the history of Saint Kitts, specifically on the history of Basseterre and history of the Saint Kitts and Nevis Labour Party. Some of his titles include Historic Basseterre: The Story of a West Indian Town (1979); Whither bound St. Kitts-Nevis? (1983); Methodism in St. Kitts, 1787-2006; Memorable Quotations (2002); and Forty years of struggle: The Birth Of The St. Kitts Labour Movement (2005).
Sir Probyn Inniss served as President of the 4H Advisory Council from 1972 to 2004, President of the Area Council of the Boys’ Brigade from 1983 to 1996, President of the St. Kitts Lions Club from 1993 to 1995, President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Bar Association from 1995 to 1997, and Vice-President and Chairman of the OECS Bar Association between 1996 and 2000. He also served for more than 30 years as a member of the board of Maurice Hillier Memorial Junior School.
Honours and awards
Following his appointment as Governor, Inniss he was created a Knight Bachelor in the 1976 New Year Honours and was personally invested by Queen Elizabeth II in July of the same year.
In 1986, Sir Probyn Inniss received the National Ecumenism Award from the Caribbean Conference of Churches.
Sir Probyn was married to Lady Rosamund Inniss for 55 years, and they were the parents of three children - Angela Inniss-Hodge, Marcia Inniss, and Probyn E. Inniss, Jr.,
Sir Probyn died on 12 March 2017, aged 80. He was accorded a state funeral with full military honours on Thursday 23 March 2017, at the Wesley Methodist Church, Seaton Street, Basseterre at 2:30 pm. Interment was at the Springfield Cemetery.