Cecil Rawle

About Cecil Rawle

Cecil Rawle is Dominica’s first national hero, activist and father of Pan-Caribbeanism.

He was born in Roseau on March 27th, 1891, after his parents, William Alexander Romilly Rawle, and Elsie Elizabeth Sophia Garrett had moved to the island from Trinidad. His father was the head of the local branch of the West India and Panama Telegraph Company that later became Cable and Wireless.

Rawle was well educated attending the Dominica Grammar School and then onto Codrington College in Barbados. After a successful academic career he moved to London to graduate as a barrister at the Inner Temple in London in 1913.

He practiced law in Grenada and Trinidad before returning to Dominica. There was at the time no elected representation in Dominica so he went on to found the Dominica Representative Government Association. In 1925 a new constitution was granted and Rawle represented Roseau in the first elected legislature. He was an avid campaigner and activist in the political arena in Dominica. In addition to practicing law, Rawle owned the Dominica Tribune Newspaper.

In 1932 he was elected chairman of the Dominica Conference which was the first meeting of Caribbean nations. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss political and socio-economic possibilities of the future. The conference, which became known as The West Indies Conference, led the way for the West Indies Federation.

The party lobbied the United Kingdom for greater representation and autonomy, and were moderately successful. Whilst short lived, it was a major step forward to independence. In 1937 Rwale accepted the position of Attorney General of the Leeward Islands, and moved to Antigua. He died suddenly that same year in Antigua at the age of 47.