Sir Joseph Nathaniel France

Sir Joseph Nathaniel France

Sir Joseph Nathaniel France, JP, CBE, KCMG was born in   Mount Lily, Nevis on September 16th, 1907 and moved to St. Kitts at the age of thirteen. He worked as a clerk in the offices of the Union Messenger and at this early age he aligned himself with others involved in the liberation of oppressed domestic and sugar workers.

In 1932 he joined the Workers League and was elected to the post of Secretary in 1938.   When the Workers League became the    St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party in 1940, Mr. France continued to serve as its secretary until 1993. The year 1940 also saw the birth of the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades & Labour Union and he became its first General Secretary being unanimously re-elected every year up until his passing in 1997. In 1946, Mr. France successfully contested General Elections and was the party’s first elected representative for West Basseterre, holding that seat until his retirement from active politics in 1989.
During the historic riots of 1935, when the planters violated the workers’ right to a wage increase, Mr. France, then a director of the Workers’ League, went island wide advising the workers to protest without violence. He became known and respected as a peaceful but firm negotiator for the recognition of workers’ rights.
With the advent of the ministerial form of Government in St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla, Joseph Nathaniel France served as Minister of Social Services which embodied Health and Education portfolios.
Sir Joseph lived an austere life. He was characteristically selfless in his service to his immediate family and to all whom he served while in political office.  He has left a life to be admired. That his achievements have been understated in much that have been said or written about him, speak volumes of Sir Joseph’s commitment to service without fanfare.
In recognition of his life of service to his country and his contribution to the improvement of the working class throughout the region, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth conferred on Mr. France the title of Commander of the British Empire (C.B.E.) in 1976. The Queen again honoured him in 1996 when he joined the hierarchy of the Most Distinguished Order of Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George.
We salute the honour, the memory of Sir Joseph Nathaniel France, a man whose life of service is a rich legacy intricately woven in the tapestry of our history.
“His death marked the passing of the last of the old guard…He left only a small sum in his will have been generous with his resources, to the end.  His political ideas and beliefs sprang from a deep-rooted love and affection for his own country and its people…Called the most lovable figure in modern politics, he has left behind an example of personal and moral integrity which offers a benchmark for future generations.