Give Honour Where Honour is Due- The life of a former Prime Minister Oliver James Seraphin-
"OJ" was born in Roseau, Dominica on the 2nd day of August 1943. He is commonly referred to as Doctor, Perry or OJ- and is the son of Perry and Theotil Seraphin deceased, who were shop keepers in Roseau and in the Fond Cole area -north of Roseau.
They were Labour Party activists and grassroots leaders of the LABOUR MOVEMENT and were recipients of plaques of honour from the Fond Cole community for services to that community and the Dominica Domino Association who gave an award to Perry Snr for leadership in that sport.
He had a tailor and dry cleaning laundry business in the city of Roseau.
"Ma" Perry meanwhile was an ardent Catholic Church leader in the Goodwill and Fond Cole community and was honored by the church for faithful consistent life time service.
Perry Seraphin Snr was a confidante and friend of lead luminaries in the labour movement- the illustrious Labour leaders like E.C. Loblack and N.A.N. Ducreay and was a godfather to each of one of their children as well as godfather to a child of his mentor F.O.C. Harris a prominent Dominican Caribbean jurist-judge and Dominican politician . Perry was a strong supporter of E.O. Leblanc and Patrick John and was a political ally of Ronald Armour. Perry was a respected and very convivial gentleman of the 'old school' and his home was a place of animated conversations , not only with political personalities but also with socially prominent boyhood friends among whom were -Hughes –"fire the guy"-Shillingford , Cosie Harris ,brothers John and Bernard Eugene as well as other persons in his" Success" Domino club .
Oliver Seraphin was born in this very active social and political environment with the consciousness of emancipating the underprivileged and the fight for equal opportunity for the less fortunate in our society of which he was an aggressive and passionate advocate. He actively supported the emergence of Party Leader Patrick John following the resignation of Premier E.O. Leblanc in 1973.The resignation was due to attacks which followed the mayhem in the Parliament by the opposition -the debacle of the 16th of December 1971 .The resignation of Leblanc was as a result of this attempt to overthrow his government by agents of the Freedom Party at that parliamentary sitting and the consistent aggression and relentless opposition and attacks by the opposition infiltration in the Civil Service leadership and other trade unions which followed.
Leblanc left the political scene and only reappeared years later on a political platform in his support of O.J. Seraphin at a major rally prior to the elections of 1980 at the Potterville Savannah after which he went back to the PEACEFUL sunset of total early retirement.
Seraphin who in his early 20's was a senior executive member of the Labour Party soon became a Cabinet member of the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica and served as Minister of Agriculture, Cooperatives, Lands and Fisheries, Housing, Ports, Communications and Works, Education, CARICOM and Trade, Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister following his election victory under the Patrick John "electrifying team". He won his elections in the Canefield and Roseau Valley constituency under the leadership of Premier Patrick John in 1975.The change of boundaries of that constituency began the rift with his leader Patrick John as the Canefield urban area was moved to the Mahaut constituency and the Bath Estate area which too had housing schemes and other housing which was under the ministerial or chairman position of Oliver Seraphin.
(To be continued)