Edward Oliver Le Blanc

Edward Le Blanc was born in the northern village of Vieille Case and later worked as an agricultural extension officer in the east and west of the island. He joined the Dominica Labour Party shortly before the General Election of 1957 and won the Portsmouth District Seat in the Legislative Council in that election. In 1958 he was elected as a member of the House of Representatives of the short-lived Federation of the West Indies. He returned to politics for the General Election of 1961 and won the Roseau South seat, becoming Chief Minister in the new government. In the election of 1966 he won the North Western District seat and did so again in 1970. He retired from politics in 1974. During his seventeen years of leadership of Dominica, the island status changed from colony to Associated State in 1967 and Le Blanc became the first Premier.

Le Blanc had a passionate belief in Dominica and things Dominican. His skill of communication with "the little man" was renowned and was aimed at bringing the politically and economically dispossessed into the mainstream of Dominican life. In so many ways in cultural activism, local government and by public recognition he gave new confidence to a whole class of people who had for generations considered themselves to be subject to the traditional elite. By making them recognize their own self-worth and by opening avenues by which they could contribute to the development of their country, Le Blanc nurtured the growth of a new Dominican nationalism. During his term of office significant social, educational and infrastructural advances were made in Dominica and a cultural rebirth took place. Although he was personally hurt by the political antagonism levelled against him during the last years of his leadership and retreated completely from public life, a whole new generation of Dominicans now recognizes the crucial role he played in advancing social change for all at a significant period of the twentieth century.

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