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Compton Leaves as St. Lucia’s Leader

April 2, 1996

CASTRIES, St. Lucia (AP) _ Prime Minister John Compton, praised by some as a land reformer, is stepping down after 29 years at the helm of St. Lucia.

Vaughn Lewis, a close political ally, was to be sworn in a prime minister later today.

In his farwell address Monday, Compton said the country had achieved a lot during his tenure, but emphasized that he was leaving without reaching his ultimate goal _ Caribbean unity.

``It is a disappointment that I may not see ourselves entering the 21st century as one people, one nation, with one destiny, but rather as a divided people scattered over the Caribbean Sea,″ he said.

Compton, 69, has been credited with reforms making it easier for St. Lucians to own land, giving him hero status among some of the 150,000 residents of this 240-square-mile island, the second largest of the Lesser Antilles.

Compton, 69, had announced earlier this year that he would step down in favor of Lewis, director-general of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

In February, Compton appointed Lewis the new leader of his United Workers Party and guided him to an easy by-election victory in Parliament.

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