François entered politics in 1954 and won the East Castries seat for the United Worker's Party in 1964. François would later resign in favour of the Saint Lucia Labour Party in 1974.
First Minister of Education
François held the title of Minister of Education, Health and Social Services from 1964 to '74. He kickstarted the birth of SALCC by establishing a tertiary education complex at Morne Fortune.
Lawyer and Lover of The Arts
His mastery of the English Language, derivative of his profession as a lawyer, allowed him to captivate his audiences. A lover of the arts, François is considered the father of the St. Lucia School of Music.
Hunter J. François was born on 19 February 1924 in the community of Choiseul, Saint Lucia. He served as Minister of Education, Health and Social Services from 1964 to 1974. During his tenure as Education Minister, François established the Morne Education Complex, which set the foundation for the formation of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College. The Hunter J. François Library at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) was named in his honour, at the official opening ceremony of the building on February 27, 1993.
François was married to Olive François. François was also an accomplished pianist who had studied under Chester Catlow, an American concert pianist who had retired to Saint Lucia. His gift for music was passed on to his children, several of whom became musicians, with one of them, Luther François, his son, has gone on to become one of the Caribbean’s most celebrated saxophonists. Hunter François indeed made a varied and sterling contribution to the development of St. Lucia.
Hunter J. François was a Lawyer by profession. François was appointed Minister of Education, Health and Social Services, a position he held from 1964 - 1974. During that period he conceptualized the establishment of a tertiary education complex at Morne Fortune utilizing the old military barracks there. This was the genesis of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.
François entered local politics in 1954, when he contested the electoral district of Choiseul, as an independent candidate. He ran against GA Mason of the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and IG John of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP). François came in third with John taking the seat. Seven years later, he joined the PPP, the party which represented the planter and establishment class. He represented the East Castries constituency but was defeated in the 1961 elections, registering 661 votes while the opposition pulled 979 votes.
François continued his political work and later joined the United Workers party (UWP) which was a merger between the PPP and National Labour Movement (NLM) of Sir John Compton. François represented the East Castries constituency for the United Workers Party, finally winning the seat in the 1964 general election, polling 821 votes to the latter’s 661. In the 1969 elections in which the UWP government lost two seats, François prevented them from losing a third and avoided the country being faced with a hung parliament, when he won over Foster by 43 votes.
In 1974, François resigned from the United Workers Party and joined the Saint Lucia Labour. He was defeated at the Polls in Central Castries against incumbent Trade Minister George Mallet of the UWP in the 1974 general election. In February 2014, the government named a road in Monchy, Gros Islet where he lived, the Hunter J. François Drive. Upon his retirement from active politics, François subsequently held the position of Parliamentary Commissioner and Chairman of the Board of Radio St. Lucia.
- Huntley, Earl Stephen (15 November 2014). "Hunter J Francois - Radical Political Thinker and Visionary Government Minister". St. Lucia Times.
- "Former Education Minister Hunter Francois dead at 90". Radio Saint Lucia.
- Kentish, Alison (17 November 2014). "PM pays tribute to the late Hunter François". HTS Channel 4.
- "Former education minister dies". St. Lucia News Online. 16 November 2014.