In August 1979, Anthony was appointed special advisor in the St. Lucia Ministry of Education and Culture, and in 1980 he became minister of education. He served as general counsel to the Caribbean Community Secretariat from March 1995 until his resignation in 1996. At that time, Anthony was elected political leader of the SLP. He led the SLP to victory in the May 1997 general elections when they defeated the UWP by obtaining 60% of the votes cast. Under his leadership, the SLP, the former opposition party, was returned to power after 18 years with the largest mandate ever given to any political party in the country's history. Kenny Anthony became prime minister and minister of finance, planning, and development on 24 May 1997. In elections held 3 December 2001, the SLP retained their control of the government, winning 14 of the 17 seats in the legislature, with the opposition UWP winning three.