INFLUENTIAL CARIBBEAN WOMEN PT. 8

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The Hon. SARAH WESCOT – WILLIAMS,

Prime Minister Saint Maarten, D.W.I.

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The Prime Minister of St. Maarten, the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams is a native Saint Martiner who has made a name for herself in the politics of this two-nation island. In a political career spanning more than 35 years she has served as member of the Executive Council of the island territory of Sint Maarten, was a Member of Parliament for the Netherlands Antilles, has served as member of the Island Legislative and has chaired the Permanent Commission for Constitutional Affairs of the Legislature.

She is the first female on St. Maarten to head a major political party, leading the Democratic Party of Sint Maarten since 1994.

The realization by the Government of the Dutch Kingdom that a status change for the island of St. Maarten is inevitable and is credited to her unrelenting drive for recognition of the Constitutional referendum on St. Maarten which was held on the 23rd of June, 2000.
Prior to assuming political office she headed the island’s Financial Department and was Deputy Island Secretary from 1985 until 1991 when she was appointed member of the Executive Council.
She complements her experience in Public Service with an Honor’s Associate Degree in Business and Finance, a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration, and a Master’s in Public Administration (suma cum laude) from La Salle University, USA.
On October 10, 2010, she was appointed as the first Prime Minister of St. Maarten, and is responsible for the portfolio of General Affairs.
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DAME JENNIFER MERDITH-SMITH

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Dame Jennifer Meredith Smith earned her place in Bermuda’s history as the first Progressive Labor Party [PLP] Premier, the first female Senator and the first female Deputy Speaker.

In addition, in 1972, Dame Jennifer became the youngest woman to run in a general election [1972] and in 1980, she became the youngest member of the Senate. She led the PLP to two general election victories on November 9, 1998 and July 24, 2003.

She was born in 1947 in Bermuda, and raised as a member of the African Methodist Episcopal church. She attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and earned an Associate’s degree in 1970. Upon returning to Bermuda, she began work as a political reporter and editor for the Bermuda Recorder newspaper.

She was elected to the House of Assembly of Bermuda representing St Georges in 1989, and elected deputy party leader in 1994, and succeeded to the leadership two years later upon the death of L. Frederick Wade.

In 1998, when the PLP was elected she became Premier of Bermuda. This was notable on an international level, as it was one of the few instances that a female leader was succeeded by another female, as Dame Jennifer followed after Dame Pamela Gordon of the UBP.

In November 2010, Dame Jennifer Smith was sworn in at Government House, taking on the position of Minister of Education. Dame Jennifer had previously held the position of Deputy Speaker of the House, which she resigned in order to accept a Cabinet position. This is the second time she has served in this role, as Dame Jennifer was the first PLP Education Minister. This is her first Cabinet position since resigning as Premier in 2003.

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Dame Jennifer has served as a member of the Board of Trustees or been involved in many organizations including the Bermuda National Gallery, Bermuda Dance Foundation, De Boys Day Out Club, Boys and Girls Club of Bermuda, Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, Bermuda Society of Arts, Masterworks Foundation of Bermuda and the Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society, Bermuda Heritage Association, Bermuda TB Cancer and Health Association, St. George’s Jaycees, Friends of the Bermuda College Library, Bermuda Biological Station for Research, Bermuda Business & Professional Women’s Club, Berkeley Educational Society, Masterworks Foundation, Bermuda Zoological Society; Amnesty International, Bermuda Debate Society, Keep Bermuda Beautiful and Richard Allen AME Church.

Some of the awards she has received include:

  • Made a Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) in the June 2005 Queen’s Birthday Honors in recognition for her service to Bermuda and its people.
  • Received Honourary Degrees from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA (June 2003) (DHumL), Morris Brown College, Atlanta Georgia, USA (May 2000), and Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (October 2000)
  • Received the “Woman of Great Esteem” award from Q-Kingdom Ministries New York, USA (March 2001)
  • Received an award from the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Washington, D. C. USA (September 2001).

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The Hon. GIRLYN MIGUEL

The Honorable Girlyn Miguel being sworn in as the first female Deputy Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Hon. Girlyn Miguel is serving her third term as Parliamentary Representative for the Constituency of Marriaqua. She also serves as the Minister of Education.

Sister Girlyn, as she is fondly known, attended the Marriaqua Government School where she obtained the Primary School Leaving Certificate and became a member of the British Junior Red Cross Society. She’s completed training in counseling and several training in education administration and teaching.

Girlyn Miguel devoted her life to education and our kids. She’s spent her career in our schools working first as a teacher and then as a principal. She’s also started programs like First Browne, Girl Guide and Ranger Companies to help keep our kids on the right path.

As Minister of Education, Sister Girlyn has presided over an Education Revolution in this country. She oversaw the unprecedented expansion in the investment in our school facilities and in the quality of teachers. She also oversaw the explosion of scholarships in this country.

Outside of her ministerial duties, Sister Girlyn is active in the Marriaqua community. She’s involved with the Marriaqua Cooperative Credit Union, the Marriaqua United Friendly Society and the Marriaqua Education, Culture and Sports Organisation.

Girlyn Miguel and her daughters

A committed Christian, Sister Girlyn has been active in her church since she was 17. This includes service as a Lay Reader, Catechist, Eucharistic Minister of Holy Communion and she’s been involved in missionary work at Geriatric homes, prisons, hospitals and to the home-bound.

On 14 December 2010 Girlyn Miguel was appointed as the first female Deputy Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Girlyn Miguel is a widow and mother of four.

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The Hon. GLENYS HANNA-MARTIN

Glenys Hanna-Martin was born in Nassau on October 27, 1958 to the Hon. Arthur Dion Hanna and Beryl Hanna (nee Church). She is the mother of three and her interests include reading, walking, yoga and poetry.

Political Highlights: Mrs. Hanna-Martin was sworn in as Minister of Transport and Aviation on May 10, 2012.

Her current ministerial portfolio includes: Ground Transportation, Road Traffic Management, motor vehicles registration and licensing, postal services, drays and surreys, Nassau Flight Services, meteorology, relations with the Airport Authority, ship registration, maritime affairs, the Port.

Mrs. Hanna-Martin on May 2nd, 2002 was declared the winner of the Englerston Constituency in the 2002 General Elections. Subsequently she was appointed and sworn in as the Minister of Transport and Aviation. In 1998 she was elected Chairperson of the Women’s Branch of the Progressive Liberal Party. In 2008 she was elected Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party at its National Convention. She became the first female to hold the post of Chairman of any major political party in The Bahamas.

Education: Her education began at St. Anne’s School, Fox Hill. She later attended Queen’s College, and matriculated from Padworth College, Reading, England. She continued her studies at York University, Toronto, Canada, graduating in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts (Specialized Honors  degree in English Literature. In 1985 she left for the University of Buckingham, England where she obtained her LL.B with top honors having been awarded the Maxwell Law Prize by the institution. She then joined the Inner Temple, London and in 1988, after having successfully completed her Council of Legal Education Course, was called to the Bar of England and Wales.

Professional/Career: She is currently the Senior Partner and Lawyer at A.D. Hanna & Co.

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DAME MARGUERITE PINDLING

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Dame Marguerite Pindling is one of  The Bahamas’ most beautiful women, one whom is admired by young ladies of The Bahamas and abroad, is a humble and pleasant lady who hails from Long Bay Cays, Andros Island. She has been very busy from the day she met and married Sir. Linden O. Pindling. Since then her life has been shared with the Bahamian nation and she is known as a humanitarian throughout The Bahamas, and as a member of a plethora of charities.

She became First Lady of our independent country in 1973.

Throughout her time as First Lady, Lady Pindling gave her determined, energetic and loyal support to her family. Besides the devotion she showed to Sir Lynden and his political career, she undertook much charitable work, cared for her children, and became a Bahamian icon. She was honoured by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2007, being named a Dame Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George.

Her pride is/was to be a Bahamian. She would be likened to the African Sophia Lauren in her style and elegance and she has a natural ability to make anyone feel welcome and at home in her midst. Lady Pindling and her husband had a genuine natural gift of being open and approachable. They flowed freely.

(BIS Photo: Derek Smith)

It was so easy for our committee to determine that Dame Marguerite Pindling is one who undoubtedly, unequivocally and without question is deserving of being our Special Guest, and that for us is so meaningful. What she displays, what she recognizes, and most importantly, what she does as a humanitarian through charities such as The Red Cross, shows her compassion for helping within her country.

One cannot begin to pen the memoirs of our First Lady, Dame Marguerite Pindling without noting her desire to be the best role model; to take on such an irksome task of standing by Sir Linden Pindling in life and in death for the betterment of the Country of The Bahamas as a whole. She has brought many to our Bahamas, from the Queen in London, Prime Ministers and Presidents all around the world, never forgetting where it mattered most; and she found her greatest reception and adoration amongst the common man, the citizens of The Bahamas.

Lady Margaret Pindling is a brown skin complexion beautiful to looked upon Bahamian female from Long Bay Cays, Andros Island, who married a man Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling who was shorter in statute than she was. She became first Lady of an independent country in 1973 and unaware became the envy of many who did not see she was there as a protege of Bahamian Royalty. Dancing with Prince Phillip Of Great Britain seem fairytale and moving amongst aristocrats surely had its share of haters. Both she and her husband had the strong command of speech and with such intellectual skills which would have advanced the African race only to have those who were covetous of their appearance, performance blemish their character to a point of such destruction anyone who never had a chance to see elegance and royalty in the African- western flair would discover there were a few who recall the pride it was to be a Bahamian. She would be likened to the African Sophia Lauren in style and excellence. The ability to make anyone feel welcome and at home in their midst Lady Pindling and her husband had a genuine natural gift of being open and approachable where so many are fighting to fit in, they flowed freely. Dethroning Lady Pindling became a specious ploy and history will surely show that a Lady is always A LADY.

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Lady Ingrid Darling Dame Marguerite Pindling

Dame Marguerite Pindling was born to Reuben and Viola McKenzie in the settlement of Long Bay Cays, South Andros, on 26 June 1932; she often describes herself as ‘just a barefoot girl from Andros’.

Moving to Nassau in 1946, she lived with her sister Louise and attended the Western Senior School. After leaving school, her first job was with noted photographer Stanley Toogood. Later she worked for Colyn Rees and soon met Lynden Pindling, a London-trained lawyer. Following a courtship of a little over a year, they married on 5 May 1956. Shortly after the wedding Lynden Pindling was elected to the House of Assembly and would serve until 1997, when he retired after being elected nine consecutive times. In 1967 he became Premier and later Prime Minister, a post he held until 1992.

IMG_0120Dame Marguerite Pindling and Mrs. Bahamas 2010, Keldra Pinder.

Throughout his term in office, Lady Pindling gave her husband her determined, energetic and loyal support. Besides the devotion she showed to Sir Lynden and his political career, she undertook much charitable work, cared for her children and became a Bahamian icon. She was honoured by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2007, being named a Dame Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George.

The Pindlings had four children – Obi, Leslie, Michelle and Monique – and Dame Marguerite is now a proud grandmother of six.

2 thoughts on “INFLUENTIAL CARIBBEAN WOMEN PT. 8

Add yours

  1. Did any one remember Hon Portia Simpson -Miller and Hon Kamla Persaud-Bisseseur-current Prime Minister of jamaica and the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago respectively
    Dame Nita Barrow (Deceased,) Hon Billy Miller-Barbados; Hon Dr.Jacqui Quinn of Antigua and Barbuda, and the current Speaker of the OECS Parliamentary Assembly Hon Rene Baptiste.

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