|Sir John Augustus Fitzroy Watts KCMG, CBE
Former President of the Grenada Senate
Sir John Augustus Fitzroy Watts KCMG, CBE (1922 – 11 May 2015) was a Grenadian dentist, politician and co-founder of the Grenada National Party.
Early life and education
John Augustus Fitzroy Watts was born in the parish of Saint Patrick's on the Caribbean island of Grenada. He studied to become a dentist at Michigan State University.
John Augustus Fitzroy Watts, was officially registered as a Dentist of Saint George's, Grenada on 21 November 1955 and during this same period of his career, with his friend, a barrister and public servant from Carriacou, Herbert Blaize the two started the Grenada National Party (GNP). From that point on his public services to Grenada and its people were selfless, including as chaired the Grenada Tourist Board for ten years, and as President of the Caribbean Tourism Association (CTA) for two years.
In 1953, John Watts formed and led the Grenada National Party as a rival party to Eric Gairy's Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) started two years earlier — a party that would become its main rival for the next 25 years. In an early GNP manifesto Watts declared that the party was "democratic socialist", but disavowed trade union connections and shaped the party to have a multi-class appeal — a philosophy inherited by Blaize when he became leader two years later. The first General election with several political parties was held in 1957 (although is was the third held on the basis of universal adult suffrage). 1960 saw the GNP in a coalition with another political party and the following year it lost the election. However Gairy was soon banned from political activities, losing his seat (1957-61), and the Constitution was suspended by Britain (following an enquiry into Gairy's government). The GNP then won the 1962 elections, on an unfulfilled promise of a "unitary state" with Trinidad and Tobago, and Blaize remained chief minister until the party lost the elections to Gairy in August 1967.
In 1974, Sir John became the first Rotary District Governor for District 404 which includes all the French, Dutch, and English speaking islands in the Caribbean. He was later appointed member of the 1976 Convention Committee of Rotary International and helped the charter of the Rotaract Club of Grenada (on 21 January 1978).
He was president of the Senate from 1988-90 and from 1995-2004. In June 2004, he was appointed a consultant to parliament as a senior figure in the then-ruling party.
Sir John was the father of Lynette Richardson, Harry Barriteau, Patrick James, Lymrick Hagley, Richard McIntyre, Frances Donelan, and Margaret Washington.
Honours and awards
Watts was awarded the Order of the British Empire (CBE) on 31 December 1987. On the 31 December 1999, as a member of the Commonwealth he was further honored when he received the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG).
Sir John died on 11 May 2015 near St. George's, Grenada, aged 92. His body was laid to rest at the St. George’s Top Cemetery after a Funeral Service on Friday 22nd May, 2015 at 11: 00 am at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Church Street, St. George according to Presbyterian rites.