Baldwin Spencer

Winston Baldwin Spencer is the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.

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Winston Baldwin Spencer (born October 8, 1948) is the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. He has been Prime Minister since March 24, 2004, when his party, the United Progressive Party (UPP), which he had led as the opposition party for several years, won a parliamentary election. He has also been Minister of Foreign Affairs since January 6, 2005.

Leader of the Opposition

Baldwin Spencer is rooted in labour. For a quarter-century, he was a prominent labour leader with the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union. HE was first elected to Parliament in 1989 as the MP for the St. John's Rural West constituency.

In 1992, Spencer played an integral role in the formation of the United Progressive Party. He previously served as a leader with the United National Democratic Party and spearheaded collaborative meetings with the Antigua Caribbean Liberation Movement that resulted in the formation of the United Progressive Party. Upon formation of the party, Spencer rose to become the political leader of the party and the Opposition Leader in the Parliament.

As Opposition Leader Baldwin Spencer organised public demonstrations and went on a hunger strike to advocate for electoral reform after the widely criticised 1999 elections. His advocacy led to the formation of an independent Electoral Commission to oversee elections in Antigua and Barbuda. He also led the fight to ensure that opposition had access to state-owned media, such as the television station, Antigua Broadcasting Service (ABS). To that end, he filed a writ and took the Bird Government to court arguing that, in a democratic society, citizens have a right to hear an opposing political perspectives on government airwaves.

Prime minister



Spencer with the President of Brazil, Lula da Silva.

In 2004, Baldwin Spencer led the United Progressive Party to a landslide victory in the general election. He defeated Lester Bird's ALP, which had ruled Antigua and Barbuda for the previous 28 years. In Government he moved to enact a trio of good government reforms: a nationwide school meals programme, raising the minimum wage and paying all civil servants.

Internationally Baldwin Spencer is known as a skilled diplomat who helped his country assume the leadership of the Group of 77 in 2008. He received the highest order of Cote d'Ivoire, the Commander of the National Order. He was also recognized by the United Nations for his leadership, receiving the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Award in recognition for his work advancing the cause of international development.[1]

The UPP won the March 2009 election with a reduced majority of nine out of 17 seats. Spencer himself defeated ALP candidate Gail Christian in the St John's Rural West constituency, receiving 2,259 votes against 1,753 for Christian. Spencer said on this occasion that it would "not be business as usual", and he was promptly sworn in for another term as Prime Minister when vote counting was completed.[2]

Personal life

Prime Minister Spencer is married to Jacklyn Spencer and is the father of two children.

On 16 August 2008, Spencer was inducted as an honorary member of the Pathfinder Club, a Seventh-day Adventist youth service organization.

Antigua Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer received the ranking during a gathering of more than 3,000 Pathfinders from around the Caribbean.

References

  1. [1]
  2. "UPP wins, but Bird back in parliament", Caribbean360.com, 13 March 2009.