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Arsene James
(30 October 1944 - 29 July 2018)
Arsene Vigil James, JP
Former Cabinet Minister and Leader of the Opposition, Saint Lucia

Arsene Vigil James was a Saint Lucian politician, former Cabinet Minister, and former Leader of the Opposition.

Early life

Arsene Vigil James was born in Saint Lucia on 30 October 1944. He attended the Desruisseaux Infant School and Micoud Primary School, and the St. Lucia Teachers' College (1985-1967). He held a Bachelor of Education (Distinction) from the University of the West Indies Mona (1976 - 1978), and a Masters in Education from Bristol University (1983 - 1984). He also held a Diploma in Higher Education (Law) from the Holborn College, England (1998 -1999) and a LLB (Honours) University of  Woverhampon, England (Distance Learning) (1999 - 2000). While at Mona, he served as President of the Student Body of the Facult of Education, representing students on the Academic Board of Mona.


An educaator by profession, James began as a Teacher at the Micoud Primary School from 1957 to 1961, following which he went on to teach at the Desruisseaux Infant School and then the Combined school for another nine years (1971 - 1970). From 1973 ro 1981, he also served as a teacher at the Micoud Junior Secondary School. James later served as the Principal at the Vieux Fort Senior Secondary School (1981 - 1095) and the Principal of Micoud Secondary School (1985 - 1997). He was also a former president of the Principals Association in Saint Lucia (1995 - 1997).

He successfully contested the Micoud South seat in the 3 December 2001 election for the United Workers' Party (UWP). He served as Leader of the Opposition from 27 January 2003 to April 2004.

James was re-elected in December 2006 and was appointed Minister for Education and Culture under the government of Prime Ministers John Compton and Stephenson King. He served as Minister until November 2011.

He was elected for a third term in 2011. He did not seek re-election in 2016 and his Micoud South seat was eventually represented by Political Leader and current Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.

Honours and awards

In 2017, James was awarded the Saint Lucia Cross, the nation's third-highest honour, as part of our 38th Independence Awards.

Personal life

Divorced, James was the father of three daughters and one son.


Arsene James passed away in Martiniquearound 3 am on Sunday, 29 July 2018, after a prolonged illness, at the age of 73. He was accorded an Official Funeral on Friday. 10 August 2018 at the Church of the Holy Cross, Desruisseaux, Micoud, St. Lucia.

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Occupation Politician
Date of Birth 30 October 1944
Place of Birth Saint Lucia
Date of Birth 29 July 2018 (aged 73)
Place of Birth Martinique
Notable Accomplishments
Leader of the Opposition: January 2003 - April 2004
Former Cabinet Minister
Country Profile Saint Lucia
Leaders of the Opposition of Saint Lucia
United Workers Party

 Caribbean Leaders
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 Women in Caribbean Politics
 National Heroes
 Order of the Caribbean Community Recipients
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