Ben Joseph Jones
Former Prime Minister of Grenada
The mantle of leadership of the Government of Grenada fell on the shoulders of the Honourable Ben Joseph Jones when his long-term friend and political colleague, Prime Minister Herbert Blaize, died in December 1989.
Appointed by the Governor-General to succeed Prime Minister Blaize, Prime Minister Jones had less than 100 days before the Constitution demanded that General Elections be held. At his discretion, those elections were fixed for 13 March 1990 and, although his political party, The National Party (TNP) did not retain the Government, he again won the seat for the constituency of St. Andrew South West.
Early life and education
Prime Minister Jones was born on 5 August 1924 in Carriere, a small village in the Parish of St. Andrew, Grenada. Educated at the Belair Presbyterian Primary School, he left school in 1943 and after short stints in the commercial and agricultural fields, enlisted for the duration of World War II in the Windward Islands Battalion of the South Caribbean Force.
Jones migrated to Aruba where he worked for nine years with the United States oil refinery, Largo. Hoping to fulfill his ambition to become a barrister, he migrated to the United Kingdom in 1956. Having only a primary school education at this stage, further basic study was required before that ambition could be realised and, to achieve this, he entered the Chiswick Polytechnic.
Advised by the Polytechnic officials that it would take him seven years to upgrade his primary education to the level required to study law, Jones entered a self-imposed, intensive study routine which achieved the seven year goal in eighteen school months.
On entering Gray’s Inn, he began his study of law. At the same time he enrolled as an external student at London University, adding to this a correspondence course in law, and, successful in his examinations was called to the Bar on February 6, 1962.
There followed two years experience with a firm of solicitors in London, after which Jones returned to Grenada and accepted a post of magistrate which he held for about a year before returning to private practice.
In 1967 he contested the General Elections of August 1967 under the banner of the Grenada National Party. He was defeated at the polls but Herbert Blaize, as Leader of the Opposition, nominated him to a seat in the Senate. Jones did not contest the General Elections of 1976 but following those elections, was nominated again as an Opposition member of the Senate, a post he held until the revolution in 1979.
In the 1984 General Elections, Jones successfully contested the seat for St. Andrew South West and in the ruling Grenada National Party Government of Prime Minister Herbert Blaize held, at various times, the Ministries of Legal Affairs, External Affairs, Agriculture, Tourism and Forestry and Lands. He has also held the post of Attorney General.
Jones was one of the group which broke away from the GNP with Prime Minister Blaize to launch TNP, and he was Deputy Political Leader of that new party.
Following the General Elections of 1990, Jones while retaining his membership of TNP, threw in his lot with the National Democratic Congress and was given the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Lands and Fisheries. The relationship however, was not a comfortable one and in January 1991, Jones resigned from the Government and returned to private practice.
Ben Jones died on 10 February 2005. He was 80.