Baldwin Spencer

Last updated
For the anthropologist, see Walter Baldwin Spencer
Baldwin Spencer
3rd Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda
In office
24 August 2004 13 June 2014
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General James Carlisle
Louise Lake-Tack
Preceded by Lester Bird
Succeeded by Gaston Browne
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
6 January 2005 13 June 2014
Preceded by Harold Lovell
Succeeded by Charles Fernandez
Personal details
BornWinston Baldwin Spencer
(1948-10-08) 8 October 1948 (age 70)
Political party United Progressive Party
Spouse(s) Jacklyn Spencer
Children 2

Winston Baldwin Spencer (born October 8, 1948) was the third Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda from 2004 to 2014.

Antigua and Barbuda Country in the Caribbean

Antigua and Barbuda is a country in the West Indies in the Americas, lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands. The permanent population numbers about 81,800 and the capital and largest port and city is St. John's on Antigua. Lying near each other, Antigua and Barbuda are in the middle of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles, roughly at 17°N of the equator.


Spencer led the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) to victory in the March 2004 parliamentary election. In addition to serving as Prime Minister, he became Minister of Foreign Affairs on January 6, 2005.

United Progressive Party (Antigua and Barbuda) political party

The United Progressive Party is a political party in Antigua and Barbuda. Led by Baldwin Spencer, it was the governing party from 2004 to 2014. It has been in opposition since the 2014 election.

A foreign minister or minister of foreign affairs is generally a cabinet minister in charge of a state's foreign policy and relations.

Spencer's party was swept from power in the June 2014 general election.

Political career

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.

United National Democratic Party

The United National Democratic Party was a political party in Antigua and Barbuda. It contested the 1989 general elections, winning 31% of the vote but only one seat. In 1992 it was one of three opposition parties to merge into the United Progressive Party.

Antigua Caribbean Liberation Movement, a radical socialist and Pan-African political party in Antigua and Barbuda. ACLM was founded in 1968 by Tim Hector, the then chairman of the Progressive Labour Movement. The ideological inspiration for ACLM came from C.L.R. James.

As Opposition Leader Baldwin Spencer organized public demonstrations and went on a hunger strike to advocate for electoral reform after the widely criticized 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 perspective on government airwaves.

Prime minister

Spencer with the President of Brazil, Lula da Silva. LulaWinstonSpencer.jpg
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.

Sir Lester Bryant Bird, KNH was the second Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda from 1994 to 2004 and a well-known athlete. He was chairman of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) from 1971 to 1983, then became Prime Minister when his father, Sir Vere Bird, the previous Prime Minister, resigned.

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]

Group of 77 Group of 77

The Group of 77 (G77) at the United Nations is a coalition of 134 developing nations, designed to promote its members' collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations. There were 77 founding members of the organization, but by November 2013 the organization had since expanded to 134 member countries. Since China participates in the G77 but does not consider itself to be a member, all official statements are issued in the name of The Group of 77 and China.

United Nations Intergovernmental organization

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that was tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City, and is subject to extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. In 24 October 1945, at the end of World War II, the organization was established with the aim of preventing future wars. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The UN is the successor of the ineffective League of Nations.

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]

After 10 years in power, the UPP was defeated by the ALP in the general election held on 12 June 2014. Out of 17 seats, the UPP retained only three; Spencer won re-election to his own seat by a very narrow margin. Spencer accepted defeat, saying that the people had clearly chosen the ALP. He was succeeded as Prime Minister by ALP leader Gaston Browne on 13 June. [3]

Personal life

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, during a gathering of more than 3,000 Pathfinders from around the Caribbean.

See also

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The politics of Antigua and Barbuda takes place in a framework of a unitary parliamentary representative democratic monarchy, wherein the Sovereign of Antigua and Barbuda is the head of state, appointing a Governor-General to act as vice-regal representative in the nation. A Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor-General as the head of government, and of a multi-party system; the Prime Minister advises the Governor-General on the appointment of a Council of Ministers. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the Parliament. The bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

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2004 Antiguan general election

General elections were held in Antigua and Barbuda on 23 March 2004. The result was a victory for the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), which defeated the incumbent Antigua Labour Party. Baldwin Spencer, leader of the UPP, replaced Lester Bird as Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, with Bird being one of eight Labour MPs to lose his seat. Spencer became only the second Prime Minister from outside the Bird family or the Labour Party.

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  1. UPP biography Archived 2009-01-22 at the Wayback Machine .
  2. "UPP wins, but Bird back in parliament",, 13 March 2009.
  3. Jacqueline Charles, "Browne becomes new prime minister of Antigua, youngest ever", Miami Herald, 13 June 2014.
Political offices
Preceded by
Lester Bird
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda
Succeeded by
Gaston Browne
Preceded by
Harold Lovell
Foreign Minister of Antigua and Barbuda
6 January 2005 – 13 June 2014
Succeeded by
Charles Fernandez