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Founder and Leader of the SVG Green Party, Ivan O’Neal, a military veteran, wears his medals as he attends the public viewing of the body of the late Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne body on Jan. 29, 2020. O'Neal died at his home in Harmony Hall on Monday, May 27, 2024. (iWN photo)
Founder and Leader of the SVG Green Party, Ivan O’Neal, a military veteran, wears his medals as he attends the public viewing of the body of the late Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne body on Jan. 29, 2020. O’Neal died at his home in Harmony Hall on Monday, May 27, 2024. (iWN photo)
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Founder of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Green Party, Ivan Bertie O’Neal died around 5 p.m. Monday at his Harmony Hall home, multiple sources have confirmed to iWitness News.

The circumstances surrounding his death were not immediately clear, but iWitness News understands that O’Neal had been ailing for several months and returned home from England earlier this year, where he had spent some time during his ailment. 

O’Neal served for over 31 years in the British Royal Air Force as an engineer.

He was awarded the Royal Air Force Personal Commendation of the Air Officer Commanding–in–Chief Near East Air Force in 1976, the Royal Air Force Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his exemplary conduct, high personal standards and professional expertise in 1986, and the Royal Air Force certificate of merit in recognition of his initiative and inventiveness towards the improvement of the Engineering Services of the British Royal Air Force while serving in Strike Command in 1989.

He held a Bachelor of Science in accounting and finance from Oxford Brookes University, England and a Master of Science in macroeconomics, policy and planning from Bradford University, England. He also held a Master of Business Administration from Leicester University, England. 

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O’Neal served as treasurer of the Unity Labour Party (ULP), before breaking ranks with the party in 2000 to join the now-defunct People’s Progressive Movement (PPM).

In the 2001 election, O’Neal ran for the PPM in a three-way race in North Central Winward and received 30 votes.

The ULP’s Ralph Gonsalves retained the seat, which he first won in 1994, and became prime minister, a post he has held since then.   

Ivan ONeal
Founder and Leader of SVG Green Party, Ivan O’Neal in a June 2014 iWN photo.

O’Neal founded the SVG Green Party in January 2005. In elections held in December 2005, he contested the East St. George constituency for the Green Party and won 14 votes.

O’Neal contested the seat in 2010, 2015 and 2020. He received 11 votes in 2010 in a three-way contest, 13 votes in a four-party race in 2015, and 26 in 2020 when three parties contested the seat.

O’Neal strongly opposed the diplomatic ties between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Taiwan and the Government’s tax policy towards the “super-rich” in Mustique and Canouan. He proposed free education for all Vincentians from pre-school to university. 

In June 2006, O’Neal was a member of an official delegation that Gonsalves led to Malaysia. 

Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmed Badawi had invited O’Neal during an official four-day visit to Kingstown one month earlier.

During a special sitting of Parliament to mark Badawi’s visit, then Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace had noted that O’Neal had fought in Malaysia from 1963 and 1965, defending the country against Indonesian invasion. 

O’Neal was present at the special sitting of Parliament as Eustace spoke and was introduced to Badawi, who requested that O’Neal be part of Gonsalves’ official delegation.

In 1996, O’Neal led a relentless, one-man protest to abolish the Cable & Wireless telecoms monopoly.

During that protest, he was injured when a vehicle drove over his leg. However, O’Neal returned to his picket spot with his leg in a cast.

That same decade, O’Neal, chained himself to the Cenotaph in Kingstown amidst proposals by the then New Democratic Party administration to relocate it to the Botanical Gardens to provide for the construction of the Central Market. The monument was relocated to near its original position.

4 replies on “SVG Green Party founder Ivan O’Neal dies ”

  1. Patrick Ferrari says:

    Mr Ivam O’Neal was made up of the stuff sadly lacking in a vast number of our politicians: character, discipline, morals, ethics, sheer decency, and commitment. He was in it for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

    May his soul rest in peace.

    1. I am very privileged to know his grandaughter Olga who lives in the UK. I had no idea she had such an amazing grandfather.
      I think she must take after him. She is also a person of deep conviction and high standards, and has raised two sons likewise.
      I am very pleased she sent this link to my email for me to read.
      R.I.P Sir.

  2. Apostle Dr.Dillon Burgin says:

    I was deeply inspired as a young man when I stood in awe watching Mr.Oneal chained to the “Iron man” and he was as immovable and still as the iron man itself. I knew that day, that I was in the presence of a man of conviction and courage. That experience fanned a flame in my young heart. I also saw him sitting with his leg in a cast at cable and wireless ompound after a worker reportedly assaulted him with a company vehicle.
    As the great soul called Ivan Oneal has departed this life, may God almighty raise up such exemplary souls in my beautiful nation, for such a time as now.

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