Edwin Leopold Allen (April 17, 1905 – February 19, 1984) was a Jamaican politician, representing the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). He served twice as minister of education (1953-1955) and (1962-1972). He was the first and longest-serving minister of education of independent Jamaica.
Allen was born on April 17, 1905 in St. Andrew, Jamaica. He was the son of David Allen and Aneita Celestine Allen (nee Nugent). Allen was educated at Mico College and at the Institute of Education of the University of London, where he received a BA in History, Law and Economics, and was awarded a teaching professional certificate.
Allen served as head teacher (1928-1929) at Mt Felix Elementary School in St. Thomas, Chantily Elementary School, Manchester (1929-1930) and at Leicesterfield Primary School in Clarendon (1931-1950).
Allen was first elected to the House of Representatives from the Clarendon North Western constituency in the 1950 by-election. In 1953, he was appointed Minister of Education and Social Welfare in the Bustamante-led JLP administration, succeeding L. L. Simmonds. He served in this capacity until 1955, when he was succeeded by Ivan Lloyd of the People’s National Party (PNP).
Allen again won the North-West Clarendon seat in the 1955 general election, polling 8,213 votes to the PNP’s William Linton, who obtained 7,758 votes. However, he was defeated in the 1959 general election by O. Alphansus Malcolm of the PNP. Allen polled 7,663 vote to Malcolm’s 8,125. He went on to serve as Member of the Legislative Council (now Senate) from 1959 to 1962.
The JLP won the 1962 general election, and Allen was returned to Parliament from the North-West Clarendon constituency, polling 8,056 votes to Malcolm’s 6,644. He was again appointed minister of education, succeeding Ivan Lloyd, and becoming the first occupant of this position in independent Jamaica. From 1962 to 1972, Allen served as education minister in successive JLP administrations led by Sir Donald Sangster and Hugh Shearer. He was succeeded in this position by the PNP’s Sir Florizel Glaspole in 1972.
Allen won the 1972 general election by a 49 vote majority, polling 4,551 votes to 4,455 for Percival Minott of the PNP. He was defeated at the polls in the 1976 general election by Minott who obtained 6,863 votes to Allen’s 6,829 (a 34 vote majority). Allen subsequently defeated Minott in the 1980 general election, polling 8,625 votes to Minott’s 5,965. He retired from active political life in December 1983.