Watch ‘The Life & Times of Dr. Dorian Shillingford, Dominica’s first native Chief Medical Officer’ on YouTube

Dr Dorian Shilingford

Born on April 9, 1930, in Roseau Dominica to Elford Shillingford and Josephine Deschamps, Dr. Dorian Shillingford attended the Roseau Boys School and won the 1941 scholarship set aside for Roseau. Dr. Shillingford recalls that only three scholarships were made available in those days to those desirous of attending the Dominica Grammar School (DGS) who could not afford the hefty school fees. He made it clear that the total DGS school population did not exceed 48 – and was almost the exclusive preserve of children from the upper classes.

 He indicated that one scholarship was open, one was set aside for Roseau, and another was set aside for the rural areas.

 In this fascinating March 27, 2024 interview Dr. Shillingford recalls his studies at the DGS when the total population of his first-form class numbered only eight students. Shillingford recalls that every student had to be an army cadet when he entered the DGS in 1941. He said cadets had to learn to row, climb trees, and practice target shooting. When rifles became scarce during the war, some cadets drilled with sticks.  He also spoke of the impact of the meat supply from the influx of thousands of refugees from Guadeloupe and Martinique who fled to Dominica for safety after the defeat of France by Nazi Germany in 1940.

 The 1946 Dominica Island Scholar, Dorian Shillingford traveled on the same ship to the United Kingdom alongside the famous Jamaican athlete Arthur Wint. Wint had been a pilot in the Royal Air Force in World War II and went on to win Jamaica’s first Olympic gold medal at the 1948 Olympics. Wint later studied medicine in London.

 A 1954 graduate in medicine of Aberdeen University in Scotland, Dr. Shillingford later became Dominica’s first Chief Medical officer. He later became Chief Medical Officer of  Barbados and the Chief Medical Adviser to the Government of Niger.

 Aside from talking of his illustrious family, and Dominican society of his early days, Dr. Shillingford paid high compliments to the local physicians of his time. He credits our early medical pioneers for their tremendous role in eradicating diseases such as yaws, leprosy, jiggers, and tuberculosis.

 An avid bridge player and a senior member of Dominica’s bridge team, Dr. Shillingford credits the card game and his family/friends for keeping his mind sharp.

 Truly, Dr. Dorian Shillingford is a most worthy nation-builder to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for his many years of public service.

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  1. Dr Fitzroy Armour
    March 30, 2024

    That was a Wonderdul interview.
    Thouroughly enjoyable and educacional.
    looking forward to part 2. :)

  2. Listener
    March 29, 2024

    This was good information. However, I feel the interviewer didn’t allow Mr. Shillingford to finish his words before asking another question.

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