Honoree Selection Criteria
List of Honorees:
Alleyne, Justice Sir Brian
Bowers, Bishop Joseph
Charles, PM Eugenia
Felix, Archbishop Kelvin
Georges, Justice Telford
Green-Wills, Dr. Dorothy
Imray, Dr. John
LeBlanc, Premier Edward
Loblack, Honorable E. C.
Philip, Commissioner Oliver
Potter, Reverend Dr. Philip
Rawle, Honorable Cecil
Riviere, Raglan Eugene
Shillingford, Agatha Allport
Shillingford, Albert Cavendish
Shillingford, Dr. Clayton
Shillingford, Hon. Howell
Sorhaindo, Dr. Bernard
THE HONORABLE HOWELL DONALD SHILLINGFORD, CBE
(July 10, 1888 - October 11, 1975)
In the mid twentieth century, the Honorable Howell Donald Shillingford, CBE, was a leading agriculturist and politician in colonial Dominica, West Indies. He helped spearhead the development of the limejuice and banana industries in the island; and he played a major role in the island's political evolution from British crown rule to representative government. For his distinguished service to the island, Britain awarded him the honor of Commander of the British Empire (CBE).
Howell Shillingford was born on July 10, 1888. He was educated at the Dominica Grammar School and later at the Morne Bruce Agricultural School. On graduation, he helped his father, an industrious and entrepreneurial man, manage his estates. On his father's death, he inherited one of his father's estates. At that time, limejuice production for export took place in small, inefficient processing mills on individual estates. So Howell and a Shillingford syndicate helped his cousin, Albert Shillingford, build two large lime-processing central factories at Newtown and Soufriere. The only other factory of similar capacity and efficiency on the island was the English-owned L. Rose & Co factory at Bath Estate. These Shillingford factories provided hundreds of jobs for the surrounding communities. Following the success of these factories, the syndicate expanded with factories in Grenada and Trinidad. When disease decimated the lime trees, Shillingford was in the forefront of the development of the Dominica banana industry. He was elected to the board of the Banana Growers Association; and, quoting Dame Eugenia Charles, he helped "build the industry to a stage where assets had accumulated to the benefit of the grower." In 1942, he bought Macoucherie estate with its small cane mill and rum distillery. He expanded sugarcane cultivation on his properties and rebuilt the mill and distillery. Today, the estate continues producing rum under the Macoucherie label.
But Howell Shillingford also had a long and distinguished career in politics. He was a firm believer in self-government and West Indian integration. In 1925, Shillingford was elected to the island legislature, and was re-elected in subsequent elections until 1947 when he was nominated to the Legislature. With the advent of adult suffrage in 1951, Shillingford was again elected to the island legislature. He was re-elected in 1957, and was Minister of Trade and Production and member of Cabinet in the Franklyn Baron government. In the 1966 elections, Shillingford was unsuccessful at the polls and retired from politics. In pursuit of greater domestic and regional autonomy, Shillingford championed constitutional change in the West Indies. The biographer Irving Andre reports that Shillingford was no "apologist for the colonial order, on the contrary, [he] had challenged the authorities on numerous occasions, [and] had been in the vanguard of the fight for representative government in the 1920s." In 1932, he helped organize in Dominica the first West Indies Conference to discuss the political and economic future of their islands. The conference concluded that internal self-government must be the first priority.
Shillingford was a staunch supporter of public education throughout his career. Even more important, he understood the responsibility of the citizen to give back to the community some of the benefits his community had bestowed upon him. In support of better education for all, he donated land for building the Colihaut Primary School and its playground, and he provided annual scholarships for less fortunate children to attend secondary school. Shillingford was unfailingly gracious and polite, and a charitable and generous friend. His hospitality was legendary. Traveling visitors were always welcome at his home in Batalie.
The Hon. Howell Shillingford's work in the service of his country was well recognized. In 1949, Britain awarded him the honor of Commander of the British Empire (CBE). He died at his home in Roseau on October 11, 1975, age 87.
For his distinguished leadership in Dominican agriculture and politics, and for his determined fight for West Indian self-government, DAAS honors the Hon. Howell Donald Shillingford, CBE.
See: Mary Eugenia Charles. A Tribute to H.D. Shillingford. The New Chronicle, Roseau, Dominica, October 25, 1975
W.S. Stevens. A Tribute to Howell Shillingford, C.B.E. The Star Newspaper, Roseau, Dominica, October 24, 1975
Davison Shillingford. The Honorable Howell Donald Shillingford, CBE. DAAS Selected Biographies, September 20, 2012.
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