Winston Baldwin Spencer
(born October 8, 1948) is the Prime Minister
of Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island nation lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands...
. He has been Prime Minister since March 24, 2004, when his party, the United Progressive Party
The United Progressive Party is a political party in Antigua and Barbuda. It is led by Baldwin Spencer, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, and has the majority of seats in the Antiguan House of Representatives.-Foundation:...
(UPP), which he had led as the opposition party for several years, won a parliamentary election. He has also been Minister of Foreign Affairs
A Minister of Foreign Affairs, or foreign minister, is a cabinet minister who helps form the foreign policy of a sovereign state. The foreign minister is often regarded as the most senior ministerial position below that of the head of government . It is often granted to the deputy prime minister in...
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. Spencer was first elected to Parliament in 1989 as the MP for the St. John's Rural West constituency.
In 1992, Baldwin 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
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....
and spearheaded collaborative meetings with the Antigua Caribbean Liberation Movement
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...
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.
In 2004, Baldwin Spencer led the United Progressive Party to a landslide victory in the general election. He defeated Lester Bird
Lester Bryant Bird 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 from 1971 to 1993, then became Prime Minister when his father, Vere Bird, the previous Prime Minister, resigned.Bird was born on February...
'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
The Group of 77 at the United Nations is a loose coalition of 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 the organization has...
in 2008. A testament to his diplomatic skill, Prime Minister Spencer received the highest order of Cote d'Ivoire
The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...
, the Commander of the National Order. He was also recognized by the United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...
for his leadership, receiving the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Award in recognition for his work advancing the cause of international development.
The UPP won the March 2009 election
The Antigua and Barbuda general election of 2009 was held on 12 March 2009. The United Progressive Party government was re-elected with a reduced majority...
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.
Prime Minister Spencer is married to Jacklyn Spencer and is the father of two children.
On Saturday 16th 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.