Death of the “Iron Lady” of Guadeloupe, Lucette Michaux-Chevry

The “Iron Lady” of Guadeloupe, Lucette Michaux-Chevry, died this Thursday at the age of 92, after a very long career in politics, greeted by many reactions highlighting her commitment and determination.

The iconic politician, deeply rooted on the right, died after several months of fighting throat cancer. The one nicknamed the “Iron Lady of the Caribbean” held all political positions: from mayor at the end of the 1980s to minister delegate in the 1990s, in the government of Jacques Chirac, of which she was a friend. loyal.

Ubiquitous for 60 years

The local political class unanimously underlined the strong character of this politician, omnipresent in the political life of the island for 60 years. “Everyone is aware at the level of Guadeloupe of who Lucette Michaux-Chevry was”, greeted Guy Losbar, the president of the department on Radio Caraibes International. Born March 5, 1929 in Saint-Claude (Basse-Terre), Lucette Michaux-Chevry has held all the local and national offices in turn, sometimes at the same time.

Elected mayor in 1987, she rose to ministerial gold, through the functions of general counselor, regional president, senator, deputy. She ended up leaving politics in early 2019, resigning from her last post, president of the agglomeration. As soon as her death was announced, many tributes were paid to her on social networks, by politicians, overseas personalities and even anonymous people, all aware that a page in the history of the territory, where she was at the once feared, admired, or criticized in particular for his legal disputes, has just turned.

“Huge sorrow”

“It hurts and our sorrow is immense” wrote, on Facebook, his daughter Marie-Luce Penchard, former minister under Nicolas Sarkozy and mayor of Basse-Terre, herself affected by accusations of embezzlement of public funds and concussion. “It is in my opinion the greatest politician that I have met”, underlined for his part the deputy of Guadeloupe Olivier Serva (LREM). Jacques Bangou, former mayor of Pointe-à-Pitre also praised her memory and her “panache”: “She was a political figure who represented for Guadeloupe the pride of having someone who knew how to bang his fist on the face. table, and never gave up vis-à-vis the representatives of the State, even when she was in the arcana of power ”.

She was “a commitment, a character, a vision, all nourished by a visceral love for her island,” said Olivier Serva. “Originally from the socialist ranks, Lucette Michaux-Chevry will in turn become the great figure of departmentalization, before becoming with the same verve and the same ardor an activist for the autonomy” of the territory, declared of its side the federation of the Socialist Party of Guadeloupe, saluting the one who had campaigned in 2003 for the yes in the referendum on the emancipation of Guadeloupe.

Legal disputes

Lucette Michaux-Chevry, a lawyer by training, had her first election in 1959 when she became municipal councilor for her town, Saint-Claude, when her son was barely a few days old. First committed to the Socialist Party, in 1981 she supported the presidential candidate Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, thus marking the beginning of a commitment to the right that would never let go.

His long career is also peppered with corruption cases among other legal disputes. Cultivating an insular power not suffering from contestation, it will be confronted from the 1990s to several indictments, which will not all end with convictions. In 2019, Lucette Michaux-Chevry was however sentenced to two years in prison for environmental offenses and favoritism in public transport.

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