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Last updated: 07 September, 2005 - Published 19:36 GMT
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Tributes paid to 'Iron Lady' Charles
Eugenia Charles
Dame Eugenia was Prime Minister from 1980-1995
Caribbean political leaders have continued to pay tribute to former Dominica Prime Minister Dame Eugenia Charles, who died Tuesday night at the age of 86.

She had been taken to hospital in Martinique for surgery after suffering a broken hip.

Eugenia Charles was Dominican Prime Minister from 1980 to 1995 and was known as the "Iron Lady of the Caribbean."

She was best known outside of the Caribbean for her staunch support of the 1983 American invasion of Grenada which put down a leftist military administration.


In a message of condolence to Dominica, the Caribbean regional grouping, Caricom, said that Dame Eugenia had earned herself pride of place in the annals of Caribbean history through her "unshakable commitment to regional integration, and her unique direct and effective style of governance".

Caricom said in a statement that the late prime minister was an exceptional and pioneering woman, an eminent jurist and daunting, bold and visionary
national and regional leader.

She was presented with the Order of the Caribbean Community in 2002.

Singular person

Former Prime Minister of Jamaica Edward Seaga said his fellow conservative politician was a strong leader with a strong mind.

"She was a person with a singular purpose in what she wanted to do," Mr Seaga said.

Mr Seaga also praised her role in returning stability to Dominica after a turbulent political period.

Sir John Compton, the former St. Lucian prime minister, said "a Caribbean beacon has gone out" with Dame Eugenia's passing.

Trinidad foreign minister Knowlson Gift said her death "would certainly leave a vacuum" on the Caribbean political stage

Her tough leadership style was compared with the former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.

During her 15-year term in office, she survived two early coup attempts and had one man hanged for treason.

Charles, who had said she never met anyone she wanted to marry, had lived with her father until he died.

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