Lucette Michaux-Chevry, Guadeloupe politician and former minister of Jacques Chirac, died following a long illness, announced Thursday, September 9, her daughter Marie-Luce Penchard on social networks. She was 92 years old.
“Tonight (Thursday), at 7:48 p.m., surrounded by her relatives, mom left us… I am in pain… and our grief is immense…”, she wrote on her Facebook page.
Born March 5, 1929 in Saint-Claude (Basse-Terre), Lucette Michaux-Chevry marked the political history of Guadeloupe, where she held all local and national mandates, sometimes at the same time. This trained lawyer had her first election in 1959 when she became a municipal councilor for her town, Saint-Claude, when her son was barely a few days old. “Nothing is done today so that a woman can both take responsibility and offer her children the necessary affection”, she indicated to The cross, in December 1999. Married at a very young age and mother of two children, she nevertheless leads a political career that is rare for a woman of that time.
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. General councilor in 1976, she was elected mayor of Gourbeyre in 1987, after having founded her own party, Le Parti de la Guadeloupe (LPG). In 1982, she became the first woman to head a department and soon the first overseas to enter government. Jacques Chirac, with whom she will remain close, appointed her Secretary of State in charge of the Francophonie, from 1986 to 1988. Under the second cohabitation, she was appointed by Edouard Balladur Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs, in charge of humanitarian action and Human rights, from 1993 to 1995.
Specialist in the accumulation of mandates
However, she will not abandon her native Guadeloupe, where she will multiply the terms almost until the end of her life: she will have been in total three times mayor (Gourbeyre then Basse-terre), twice senator (from 1995 to 2011), twice MP (from 1986 to 1993) and twice regional president (1992 to 2004). In January 2019, she resigned from the presidency of the Greater South Caribbean agglomeration community and announced, at the age of almost 90, to end her political career.
At the end of January 2019, the one we nicknamed ” Iron Woman “ Where “The empress” and who is then president of the community of agglomeration of South Basse-Terre announces her resignation and her withdrawal from political life, at nearly 90 years old, causing an earthquake locally.
However, she remains deputy mayor of Basse-Terre, who is none other than her daughter Marie-Luce Penchard, to whom she left her seat in 2014.
“I have devoted nearly sixty years of my life to the service of Guadeloupe but above all to the service of each and every one of you”, wrote Lucette Michaux-Chevry in her letter to Guadeloupe to announce her resignation. “I did it my way, sometimes at my expense”, she adds.
Conflicts with the law
On the island, she was both feared and admired, and personalities flocked to her house in Gourbeyre to ask her for advice or to be dubbed. “I am formidable, she explained in 2017 to Outre-mer la 1D, public audiovisual network in the French Overseas Territories. Politics transformed me completely. She made me someone capable of taking all the blows, and of waiting, of waiting to win. “
During this long career, Lucette Michaux-Chevry had had several conflicts with the law. Cultivating an insular power not suffering from contestation, it was, from the 90s, several times indicted. In particular, she was condemned in 2002 for favoritism in the award of public contracts. More recently, in 2020, she was sentenced on appeal to two years in prison for the lack of control over a pumping station and drinking water distribution, in an area polluted by chlordecone. Appeared totally relaxed during her trial, the “Lady of Guadeloupe” had defended his responsibilities loud and clear.