Vernon Shaw

Former President Vernon Shaw has died

Vernon ShawHe passed away at around 3:15 on Monday morning at the Princess Margaret Hospital on Dominica.

President Shaw was born in Roseau on May 13, 1930.

Dominica’s fifth president since obtaining Independence in 1978, Vernon Lorden Shaw took his oath of office Tuesday October 06, at the State House. Shaw, was a retired civil servant elected to the post by the House of Assembly on Friday October 2, 1998.

The then Acting Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court His Lordship, the Honorable Dennis Byron, sworn Mr. Shaw in as President of Dominica.

Some of the officials who attended the ceremony included then Prime Minister and Misses Edison James, the Cabinet of Dominica, His Lordship Justice Dunbar Cenac, former Presidents and Prime Ministers, the Speaker and members of the Dominica Parliament and members of the Diplomatic Corp among others.

The sixty-eight-year-old Shaw at the came to the office of President after a long and distinguished career in the Public Service of Dominica, culminating in his appointment as Secretary to the Cabinet of Dominica and Head of the Public Service in 1977. Previous to this, he held the office of Chief Establishment Officer for six years.

During the period 1967 to 1971, he held the office of Permanent Secretary. In 1978, he was appointed Ambassador at large and Inspector of Missions, and since 1973, he has held the office of Chairman on the Public Service Board of Appeal.


President: 1998 – 2003

Biography: President of Dominica, Resident Tutor UWI, Cabinet Secretary, Permanent Secretary. Born in Roseau on 13 May 1930. Educated at the Roseau Boy’s School, the Dominica Grammar School and Trinity College, University of Oxford, UK. On leaving school entered into a long and distinguished career in the public service beginning as a temporary master at DGS in 1948.

Later that year he moved into the general service, working in several departments during the next nineteen years: Treasury and Customs, Post Office, Central Housing and Planning, Audit and in the Ministry of Trade and Production. During this period he also acted in as Registrar and Deputy Registrar and Principal Secretary in the first years of the ministerial system of government.

When Dominica gained internal self-government as an Associated State of Britain in 1967, Shaw was one of the team of the first Permanent Secretaries, serving initially in the Ministry of Education and Health and later External Affairs before becoming Chief Establishment Officer in 1971. In 1977 he was appointed Secretary to the Cabinet and was reconfirmed in the post on independence on 3 November 1978 as well as being made Ambassador at Large and Inspector of Missions.

He retired from the public service in June 1990. He served for two years (1991-1993) as Resident Tutor of the University of the West Indies School of Continuing Studies, Roseau. He was Chairman of the DBS Board (1993-1995) and of the Public Service Board of Appeal (1993-1998). He was sworn in as the fifth President of the Commonwealth of Dominica on 2 October 1998.

His national awards include the Sisserou Award of Honour, conferred in 1990, and the Dominica Award of Honour, 2001. During the 1960s and 1970s he did courses of further education at Trinity College, Oxford (Development Administration), Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford (Foreign Service) and the Royal Institute of Public Administration (Advanced Public Service Management). He also holds other qualifications in Accounting and Management. He is married to Eudora Shaw (nee Massicott) and they have four children.


  1. Former Prime Minister of Dominica, Edison James, has described past President of Dominica, Vernon Shaw, as a dedicated Dominican and a good human being.

    James told Dominica News Online that Shaw who was elected President during his term in office, served in many positions in Dominica, including the top position of Cabinet Secretary.

    “As president he clearly demonstrated an understanding of the requirements of the position,” he said. “He was a sound adviser with respect to the matters of State and on the occasions when I engaged him, in the context of the provision of the Constitution that the president should be kept informed, it was always a pleasure to receive his wise counsel and guidance.”

    He added further that Shaw was a firm and assertive man who regular engaged the people of Dominca.

    “Even while he was president he engaged people at the market. He would go down there just to be with them. His experience, his knowledge, his willingness to share that knowledge, his willingness to guide has been a pillar of his stewardship, and I think all those things will be missed,” James said.

    According to James the late president was a man of God, noting that he will miss his profound understanding of life, the most.

    “The profound understanding of life and appreciation of the role that he was called upon to play as president; that is to be a good adviser a good listener and a willingness to share his knowledge and experience and to give appropriate guidance,” he said. “I know he was deeply troubled by the slightest indication of injustice and unfairness and we shared some areas of concern in that regard.”

    Vernon Shaw was Dominica’s 5th President and passed away at the Princess Margaret Hospital on Monday 2nd December following a period of illness.

  2. Prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has expressed condolences to the family of former president Vernon Shaw saying he has served Dominica with ‘great distinction.’

    Shaw passed away at the Princess Margaret Hospital on Monday morning after a period of illness.

    “Our sympathies to Mrs. Shaw and the Shaw family on the passing of His Excellency, the former president, Mr. Vernon Shaw,” the prime minister said. “Mr. Shaw served with great distinction in the public service rising to the top post of the head of the public service and secretary to the cabinet.”

    The prime minister said during his tenure as Dominica’s head of state, Shaw “brought a lot of seriousness to the office.”

    “He always ensured that protocol was always observed in the execution of state functions,” he said.

    Skerrit said the former president will received “the appropriate recognition by the state” including burial.

    “The secretary to the cabinet has been deployed to his residence to speak to his wife and extend our condolences,” he said. “It’s a sad day and of course we shall fly the flags at half staff on the day of his burial.”

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