Ralph Gonsalves in 2013
|4th Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines|
28 March 2001
|Governor General||Charles Antrobus|
Monica Dacon (Acting)
|Leader of the Unity Labour Party|
6 December 1998
|Born||8 August 1946|
Colonarie, British Windward Islands
(now Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)
|Political party||Unity Labour Party|
|Alma mater||University of the West Indies|
University of Manchester
Inns of Court School of Law
Ralph Everard Gonsalves (born 8 August 1946) is a Vincentian politician. He currently serves as the 4th Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and leader of the Unity Labour Party (ULP).
Gonsalves is the longest continuously serving head of government since St. Vincent and the Grenadines became independent in 1979. He became Prime Minister after his party won a majority government in the 2001 general election. He was the first Prime Minister from the newly constructed ULP, following a merger of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Labour Party and the Movement for National Unity.
Gonsalves has been Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of North Central Windward since 1994. In 1994, upon the formation of the Unity Labour Party he became deputy leader, and became leader of the party in 1998.
With Gonsalves as leader, the ULP has won a majority in the popular vote in every general election since 1998 though it failed to secure the majority of parliamentary seats in the 1998 election.
Gonsalves, known affectionately as "Comrade Ralph", was born in Colonarie, Saint Vincent, British Windward Islands to his father, Alban Gonsalves (a farmer and small businessman, now deceased) and his mother, Theresa Francis (a small business woman). His foreparents came to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 1845 as indentured servants from the Portuguese island of Madeira.
He attended Colonarie Roman Catholic School, and later the St Vincent Grammar School. Gonsalves then enrolled at the University of the West Indies, where he completed a bachelor's degree in economics. He later returned there to earn a master's degree in government, which he completed in 1971. In 1974 he completed a PhD in government at the University of Manchester. Gonsalves was called to the bar at Gray's Inn in London in 1981. He also attended Makerere University in Uganda according to his address at the United Nations during the Africa Day event on 25 May 2019.
Gonsalves became involved in politics at university, as president of the University of West Indies' Guild of Undergraduates and Debating Society. In 1968, he led a student protest of the deportation of historian and intellectual Walter Rodney by the Jamaican government.
In 1994, Gonsalves became the deputy leader of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Labour Party. After the resignation of Vincent Beache, Gonsalves became leader of the party in 1998. Gonsalves later led the Unity Labour Party to win the 2001 general election, becoming Prime Minister. His ULP was re-elected in the 2005 general election. In the 2010 general election, Gonsalves and the ULP were narrowly re-elected with 51.11% of the popular vote.
In 2009 Gonsalves and the ULP led a referendum campaign in favour of constitutional reform that would have abolished the country's constitutional monarchy, replacing Elizabeth II with a non-executive president. The referendum was defeated, with 55.64% of voters rejecting the changes.
Gonsalves practices law before the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. He has written and published on a range of matters including the Caribbean, Africa, trade unionism, comparative political economy, and developmental issues generally.
Gonsavles has been married twice; currently he is married to Eloise Harris. He has two sons by his first marriage, Camillo and Adam; one son by his second wife, Storm; and two daughters, Isis and Soleil.
| Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines