INFLUENTIAL CARIBBEAN WOMEN #11

INFLUENTIAL CARIBBEAN WOMEN

 JEAN AUGUSTINE, P.C., C.M., M.Ed, LL.D.

JEAN AUGUSTINE

From 1993 to 2005, Augustine was a Liberal member of the Canadian House of Commons, representing the riding of Etobicoke, Lakeshore. She is a former member of Cabinet, and a former school principal. Augustine served as the Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien from 1994 to 1996, and was the Minister of State for multiculturalism, and the status of women until 2004.

Augustine was born in Grenada. She studied at the University of Toronto where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Education. Later on she received a Honorary Doctor of Laws from the same institution. After university she was an elementary school principal with the Metropolitan Separate School Board in Toronto.

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She has served on numerous organizations and Boards including the National Black Coalition of Canada, the Board of Governors of York University, the Board of Trustees for The Hospital for Sick Children, the Board of Directors of the Donwood Institute, the Board of Harbourfront and Chair of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority. She was also National President of the Congress of Black Women of Canada.

In the 1993 federal election, Augustine became the first African Canadian woman elected to the Parliament of Canada and subsequently the first black woman in a federal Cabinet. She also served three terms as Chair of the National Liberal Women’s Caucus.

In February 2002, Augustine was elected Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. On May 26, 2002, Augustine was appointed Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women). In December 2003, she was re-appointed to the new Cabinet as Minister of State (Multiculturalism and Status of Women). In 2004, she was appointed to the position of Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole, making her the first African Canadian to occupy the Speaker’s Chair in the Canadian House of Commons.

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Augustine was the Founding Chair of the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population & Development, Chair of the National Sugar Caucus, Chair of the Micro-credit Summit Council of Canadian Parliamentarians, Chair of the Canada-Slovenia Parliamentary Group and Chair of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Group.

On November 28, 2005, Augustine announced her intention to retire and that she would not be a candidate in the 2006 Canadian election.

In 2007, Augustine was nominated by the Government of Ontario to become the first Fairness Commissioner, a position created to advocate for Canadians with foreign professional credentials.

She is the recipient of the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, the Kaye Livingstone Award, the Ontario Volunteer Award, the Pride Newspaper Achievement Award, the Rubena Willis Special Recognition Award and the Toronto Lions’ Club Onyx Award.

In 2009, she was made a Member of the Order of Canada “for her distinguished career as an educator, politician and advocate for social justice in Canada”

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“ORDER OF CANADA”

For over four decades, Jean Augustine has advocated for the rights of women, immigrants and visible minorities. Upon immigrating to Canada, she became involved with her community, volunteering with numerous health and social welfare organizations. She also provided leadership as the former national president of the Congress of Black Women of Canada. During four successive terms as a member of Parliament, she held various portfolios, including that of secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women. Her legacy includes the federal declaration of February as Black History Month in Canada, and the motion that brought the Famous Five monument to Parliament Hill.

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BERYL AGATHA GILROY

An innovative Caribbean writer, novelist of the black diaspora and London’s first black head teacher.

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Beryl Agatha Gilroy (née Answick) (30 August 1924 – 4 April 2001) was a novelist and teacher, and “one of Britain’s most significant post-war Caribbean migrants”. Born in what was then British Guiana (now Guyana), she moved in the 1950’s to the United Kingdom, where she became the first black headteacher in London. She was the mother of academic Paul Gilroy.

Gilroy was born in Skeldon, Berbice, Guyana. She grew up in a large, extended family, largely under the influence of her maternal grandmother, Sally Louisa James (1868–1967), a herbalist, manager of the family small-holding, keen reader, imparter to the young Beryl of the stories of “Long Bubbies”, Cabresses and Long Lady and a treasury of colloquial proverbs.

Gilroy did not enter full-time schooling until she was twelve. From 1943 to 1945, she attended teacher training college in Georgetown, gaining a first-class diploma. She subsequently taught and lectured on a UNICEF nutrition program. In 1951, at the age of 27, she was selected to attend university in the United Kingdom. Between 1951 and 1953 she attended the University of London pursuing a Diploma in Child Development.

Although Gilroy was a qualified teacher, racism prevented her getting a post for some time, and she had to work as a washer, a factory clerk and maid. She taught for a couple of years, married and spent the next twelve years at home bringing up and educating her children, furthering her own higher education, reviewing and reading for a publisher. In 1968 she returned to teaching and eventually became the first Black headteacher in London. Her experiences of those years are told in Black Teacher (1976).

Later she worked as a researcher at the Institute of Education, University of London, and developed a pioneering practice in psychotherapy, working mainly with Black women and children. She gained a PhD in counselling psychology from an American university in 1987 while working at the Institute of Education.

In 2000 she was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the Institute “in recognition of her services to education”.

She died of a heart attack at the age of 76 on 4 April 2001. As noted by Roxann Bradshaw: “Two days later over one hundred Anglopjone women writers from around the world gathered at Goldsmith College in London, where Dr Gilroy had been scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the 4th annual Caribbean Women Writers Association conference. The news of her death was received with great sorrow for the passing of one of the first wave of Anglophone women writers, whose contribution to Caribbean women’s literature is invaluable.

An orange skirt suit worn by Beryl Gilroy was included in an exhibition entitled Black British Style at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2004.

Gilroy’s creative writing began in childhood, as a teacher for children and then in the 1960s when she began writing what was later published by Peepal Tree Press as In Praise of Love and Children. Between 1970 and 1975 she wrote the pioneering children’s series Nippers, which contain probably the first reflection of the Black British presence in UK writing for children.

It was not until 1986 that her first novel, the award-winning Frangipani House was published (Heinemann). It won a GLC Creative Writing Prize in 1982. Set in an old person’s home in Guyana, it reflects one of her professional concerns: the position of ethnic minority elders and her persistent emphasis on the drive for human freedom. Boy Sandwich(Heinemann) was published in 1989, followed by Stedman and Joanna: A Love in Bondage (Vantage, 1991), and a collection of poems, Echoes and Voices (Vantage, 1991). Then came Sunlight and Sweet Water (Peepal Tree, 1994), Gather the FacesIn Praise of Love and Children and Inkle and Yarico (all Peepal Tree, 1994). Her last novel, The Green Grass Tango (Peepal Tree) was published in 2001, sadly after Beryl Gilroy’s death in April of that year.

Gilroy’s early work examined the impact of life in Britain on West Indian families and her later work explored issues of African and Caribbean diaspora and slavery.

In 1998, a collection of her non-fiction writing, entitled Leaves in the Wind, came out from Mango Publishing. It included her lectures, notes, essays, dissertations and personal reviews.

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Dr. MERLE HODGE

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Merle Hodge was born in 1944, in Curepe, Trinidad, the daughter of an immigration officer. She received both her elementary and high-school education in Trinidad, and as a student of Bishop Anstey High School, she won the Trinidad and Tobago Girls’ Island Scholarship in 1962. The scholarship allowed her to attend University College, London, where she pursued studies in French. In 1965 she completed her B.A. Hons. and received a Master of Philosophy degree in 1967, the focus of which concerned the poetry of the French Guyanese writer Léon Damas.

Hodge did quite a bit of traveling after obtaining her degree, working as a typist and baby-sitter to make ends meet. She spent much time in France and Denmark but visited many other countries in both Eastern and Western Europe. After returning to Trinidad in the early 1970’s, she taught French for a short time at the junior secondary level. She then received a lecturing position in the French Department at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Jamaica. At UWI she also began the pursuit of a Ph.D. in French Caribbean Literature. In 1979 Maurice Bishop became prime minister of Grenada, and Hodge went there to work with the Bishop regime. She was appointed director of the development of curriculum, and it was her job to develop and install a socialist education program. Hodge had to leave Grenada in 1983 because of the execution of Bishop and the resulting U.S. invasion. Hodge is currently working in Women and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad.

To date, Merle Hodge has written two novels: Crick Crack, Monkey (1970) and The Life of Laetitia, which was published more than two decades later, in 1993.

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Hodge’s first novel, Crick Crack, Monkey, concerns the conflicts and changes a young girl, Tee, faces as she switches from a rural Trinidadian existence with her Aunt Tantie to an urban, anglicized existence with her Aunt Beatrice. With Tee as narrator, Hodge guides the reader through an intensely personal study of the effects of the colonial imposition of various social and cultural values on the Trinidadian female. Tee recounts the various dilemmas in her life in such a way that it is often difficult to separate the voice of the child, experiencing, from the voice of the woman, reminiscing; in this manner, Hodge broadens the scope of the text considerably. Cultural appropriation, when those who are colonized appropriate the culture of the colonizers, is exemplified in the story of Crick Crack Monkey.

The Life of Laetitia (1993), the story of a young Caribbean girl’s first year at school away from home, was well received, one review calling it “a touching, beautifully written coming-of-age story set in Trinidad”.

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PAULA VANESSA LLEWELLYN 

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The Director of Jamaica Public Prosecutions, born Paula Vanessa Llewellyn, is the first woman to be appointed to that Office within the Island. On graduating from the St. Hugh’s High School, Ms. Llewellyn embarked on the study of law and completed this program in 1984.  In that same year she was appointed in the position of Clerk of Court in the St. James Resident Magistrate’s Court.  From there, she was promoted to Crown Counsel at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and within seven years of working in that office, Ms. Llewellyn was appointed Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions.

12 cDirector of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn (right), pose with Jamaica Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr Ken Baugh and his wife Vilma Baugh.

In 1999 Ms. Llewellyn became the first woman to act in the position of Director, and in 2003 became the first female to be appointed in the position of Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions.  In May 2008, Ms. Llewellyn was appointed as Her Majesty’s Queen Counsel, with the Order of Distinction conferred with the rank of Commander in August of that same year.  In November, the Director was the recipient of the Civil Service Long Service Medal for twenty-five years in the public service.

Ms. Llewellyn has one daughter and attends the Saint Mary’s Anglican Church.  She is also a member of the Trailblazers Toastmasters Club and believes that professionalism and excellence must be at the heart of service to her fellow citizens.

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CELIA CRUZ

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Celia Cruz was born Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso in the diverse Santos Suárez neighborhood of Havana, Cuba, on October 21, 1925, the second child of Catalina Alfonso and Simón Cruz. Simón worked in the railroads as a stoker, and Catalina took care of the extended family. While growing up in Cuba’s diverse 1930’s musical climate, Cruz listened to many musicians that later influenced her adult career, such as Paulina Alvarez, Fernando Collazo, Abelardo Barroso, Pablo Quevedo, Arsenio Rodriguez, and Arcaño y sus Maravillas. When she was a teenager, her aunt took her and her cousin to cabarets to sing, but her father encouraged her to keep attending school, in hopes that she would become a Spanish language teacher. However, one of her teachers told her that as an entertainer she could earn in one day what most Cuban teachers earned in a month. Cruz began singing in Havana’s radio station Radio Garcia-Serra’s popular “Hora del Té” daily broadcast, she sang the tango “Nostalgias”, (and won a cake as first place) often winning cakes and also opportunities to participate in more contests. Her first recordings were made in 1948 in Venezuela. Before that, Cruz had recorded for radio stations. She thanked her young nephew Cesar for all the hard work he put into it also. “He was an amazing little boy he was like my own son, rest in peace Cesar”.

Celia Cruz con su GrammyIn 1950, she made her first major breakthrough, after the lead singer of the Sonora Matancera, a renowned Cuban orchestra, left the group and Cruz was called to fill in. Hired permanently by the orchestra, she wasn’t well accepted by the public at first. However, the orchestra stood by their decision, and soon Cruz became famous throughout Cuba. During the 15 years she was a member, the band traveled all over Latin America, becoming known as “Café Con Leche” (coffee with milk). Cruz became known for her trademark shout “¡Azúcar!”, (“Sugar!” in Spanish). The catch phrase started as the punch line for a joke Cruz used to tell frequently at her concerts. Once, she ordered cafe Cubano (Cuban coffee) in a restaurant in Miami. The waiter asked her if she’d like sugar, and she replied that, since he was Cuban, he should know that you can’t drink Cuban coffee without it! After having told the joke so many times, Cruz eventually dropped the joke and greeted her audience at the start of her appearances with the punch line alone. In her later years, she would use the punch line a few times, to later say: “No les digo más ‘Azúcar’, pa’ que no les dé diabetes!” which means “I won’t say ‘Sugar’ anymore so that you won’t get diabetes”.

With Fidel Castro assuming control of Cuba in 1959, Cruz and her husband, Pedro Knight, refused to return to their homeland and became citizens of the United States.

Celia-a-Home-Edgewater-NJpIn 1966, Cruz and Tito Puente began an association that would lead to eight albums for Tico Records. The albums were not as successful as expected, however, Puente and Cruz later joined the Vaya Records label. There, she joined accomplished pianist Larry Harlow and was soon headlining a concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Celia Cruz Plaza in Union City, New Jersey.

Her 1974 album, with Johnny Pacheco, Celia y Johnny, was very successful, and Cruz soon found herself in a group named the Fania All Stars, which was an ensemble of salsa musicians from every orchestra signed by the Fania label (owner of Vaya Records). With the Fania All Stars, Cruz had the opportunity of visiting England, France, Zaire, and to return to tour Latin America. In the late 1970s, she participated in an Eastern Air Lines commercial in Puerto Rico, singing the catchy phrase ¡Esto sí es volar! (This really is flying!!!).

Celia Cruz used to sing the identifying spot for WQBA radio station in Miami, formerly known as “La Cubanísima” : “I am the voice of Cuba, from this land, far away,…, I am liberty, I am WQBA, the most Cuban! (Yo soy de Cuba, la voz, desde esta tierra lejana, …, soy libertad, soy WQBA, Cubanísima!)

During the 1980s, Cruz made many tours in Latin America and Europe, doing multiple concerts and television shows wherever she went, and singing both with younger stars and stars of her own era. She began a crossover of sorts, when she participated in the 1988 Hollywood production of Salsa, alongside Draco Cornelio Rosa.

Celia-Cruz1In 1990, Cruz won a Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Performance – Ray Barretto & Celia Cruz – Ritmo en el Corazon. She later recorded an anniversary album with la Sonora Matancera. In 1992, she starred with Armand Assante and Antonio Banderas in the film The Mambo Kings. In 1994, President Bill Clinton awarded Cruz the National Medal of Arts. In 2001, she recorded a new album, on which Johnny Pacheco was one of the producers. In early 2003, she had surgery to correct knee problems that she had for a few years, and she intended to continue working indefinitely.

On July 16, 2003, she died of a cancerous brain tumor at her home in Fort Lee, New Jersey. She was survived by her husband Pedro Knight and family. After her death in New Jersey, her body was taken to Miami to lie in state in downtown Miami’s Freedom Tower, where more than 200,000 of her South Florida fans paid their final respects.

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PAULINE MELVILLE

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Pauline Melville (born 1948) is a Guyanese-born writer and actress of mixed European and Amerindian ancestry, who is currently based in London, England. Among awards she has received for her writing are the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Guyana Prize for Literature.

A professional actor before she became a writer, Melville has appeared in films that include Mona Lisa (playing the part of Dawn), as Dora in The Long Good Friday. She also appeared in television programs: as Vyvyans’s mother in the BBC Television comedy series The Young Ones; as Yvonne in Girls On Top, among other roles.

Melville’s first book, Shape-Shifter (1990), a collection of short stories, won the 1991 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book), and the Guardian Fiction Prize. A number of the stories deal with post-colonial life in the Caribbean, particularly in her native Guyana, as well as of some stories being set in London. Many of her characters, most of them displaced people from former colonies struggling to come to terms with a new life in Britain, attempt to find an identity, to reconcile their past and to escape from the restlessness hinted at in the title. Salman Rushdie described the collection as “notably sharp, funny, original…part Caribbean magic, part London grime, written in a slippery, chameleon language that is a frequent delight”.

Her first novel, The Ventriloquist’s Tale (1997), won the Whitbread First Novel Award, and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. In the book – which one reviewer has characterized as “a unique look at the conflicts of ancient and modern ways” – Melville explores the nature of fiction and storytelling and writes about the impact of European colonizers on Guyanese Amerindians through the story of a brother and sister.

Her 1998 collection, The Migration of Ghosts (1998), is a book of complex layered tales of physical and emotional displacement. According to one reviewer: “A magnificent sense of pacing is the first of Melville’s skills that impresses the reader of this mesmerizing collection. The second is her gift for voices … she has an amazing range, from West Indians in London celebrating carnival, to the self-conscious, resentful Macusi Indian brought by her literal-minded British husband to a wedding in London, to the irritable Canadian wife whose husband has been sent to Guyana for two years to serve as unofficial liar for a mining corporation. Magic realism is the label most readers and critics will paste on Melville’s work … it is an appropriate but incomplete description. The dozen stories spill over with musical chaos and sly humor…. The magic in Melville’s eccentric tales is neither good nor bad, white nor black, but the magic of the teeming pluralness and the many possibilities of life.”

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Her most recent novel, Eating Air, published in 2009, was called by The Independent “a virtuoso performance, playing with a gallimaufry of characters”.

In November 2012, Melville delivered a lecture entitled “Guyanese Literature, Magic Realism and the South American Connection” in the Edgar Mittelholzer Memorial Lecture series at the Umana Yana in Georgetown.

Melville now lives in London.

  • 1990 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book) Shape-Shifter
  • 1990 Guardian Fiction Prize Shape-Shifter
  • 1991 PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award Shape-Shifter
  • 1997 Whitbread First Novel Award The Ventriloquist’s Tale
  • 1998 Orange Prize for Fiction (shortlist) The Ventriloquist’s Tale
  • 1998 Guyana Prize for Literature The Ventriloquist’s Tale

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Dr. MERLE COLLINS

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 The prolific writer and esteemed scholar Merle Collins was born in Aruba to Grenadian parents who shortly after her birth, took their bundle of joy with them and relocated to Grenada. She received her secondary education from the St. Joseph’s Convent in St. George’s, Grenada and from there went to the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica where she earned a B.A. in English and Spanish. The bilingual Merle Collins then traveled to the United States to attend Georgetown University where she received an M.A. in Latin American Studies and a Certificate in Translation (Spanish to English). She went on to obtain a Ph.D. in Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, England.

Over the years, Merle Collins has combined her academic knowledge with her creative writing talents to create several volumes of significant work. She is the author of two novels, Angel (1987) and The Colour of Forgetting (1995), a collection of short stories, Rain Darling (1990) and three collections of poetry, Because the Dawn Breaks (1985), Rotten Pomerack (1992) and Lady in a Boat (2003). She also co-edited a collection of creative writing entitled Watchers and Seekers: Creative Writing by Black Women in Britain (1987). Her work has also been published in several anthologies. She has just completed a novel, Invisible Streams, which is not yet published.

Merle Collins is a skilled storyteller whose poetry and prose have always been infused with the cadences of Grenadian speech, the richness of Grenada’s folklore and the nuances of everyday life in Grenada. Regardless of where her characters travel to, they are always conscious of the memory of home. Merle Collins must be acknowledged as one of the foremost female writers to extensively explore issues of diaspora in her creative writing. She brilliantly captures the anxieties and paradoxes of the diaspora experience: “and I linger/ longer/ in this “seductive dying/ this sad and sweet subsisting/ and the more silent, it appears, I become. Rr1; (“seduction”, Rotten Pomerania) Her writing is a fusion of racial, political, cultural and societal concerns. Mt is the West Indian’s contemporary search for self-knowledge and truth.

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However, Merle Collins’ contribution to the study and development of literature from the West Indies is not restricted to her role as a creative writer, she is also a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Maryland where she has been teaching Creative Writing and Caribbean Literature since 1995. She has taught at the St. Joseph’s Convent, St. George’s, Grenada, Mac Donald College, Sauteurs, St. Patrick’s, and Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, St. Lucia. During the years 1984-5995, she taught at the University of North London England and she has also been Visiting Professor at the St. George’s University, of Grenada. She currently is the holder of a Guggenheim Fellowship M ` awarded for the academic year 2003-2004.

In her capacity as a teacher and the director of the University of Maryland’s (Study Abroad program for courses taught! ” in Mexico, Grenada and London, Merle Collins has dutifully taken the literature of the West Indies to various corners of the world. She has inspired in her students the passion to learn more about the history and literature of the West Indies. With her quiet dignity, her joy in her chosen field and her unwavering intellectual curiosity, Dr. Collins remains an ambassador for our literature.

faith-merle-andrene-lorna-goodison-claire-awards1(Dr. Collins & Friends) – Faith Nelson, Dr. Merle Collins, Andrene Bonner, Lorna Goodison, Dr. Claire Nelson

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LORNA E. WELSHMAN-NEBLETT

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Senior Manager, Sales & Marketing Administration Clarins Fragrance Group::: Twenty years ago Lorna Evelyn Welshman-Neblett launched Angel, the first Thierry Mugler perfume, in the U.S. market. The fragrance has been flying off high-end shelves since. Welshman-Neblett’s career in the fragrance industry began in the late 1970s, when Elizabeth Arden established a separate fragrance company with Chloe, Burberrys and others. Welshman-Neblett started working with Thierry Mugler Parfums (now a division of Clarins Fragrance Group) in 1993, presenting the brand to retailers, establishing a sales team and creating a strategy to bring Angel to the market.

Energized by the creativity required to bring a fragrance to market and to develop appealing packaging and descriptors, she holds, fittingly, the title of senior manager of sales and marketing administration for Groupe Clarins USA, U.S. arm of the Paris-based luxury cosmetics company. “What I enjoy most about working in the industry is seeing the happiness that a fragrance brings to a consumer. It is about the person who’s wearing the fragrance—for them to smell good and feel good at the same time,” she declares.

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Born in Georgetown, Guyana, Welshman-Neblett has reached a pinnacle that few women of color have attained in the fragrance industry. She is committed to her homeland and the Caribbean and seeks improved health care for women in the region through the Organization for Social Health and Advancement for Guyana and the Caribbean (OSHAG/C), a New York group that focuses on treatment, follow-up and cosmetic care for breast cancer patients.

Welshman-Neblett earned a bachelor’s degree at Washington Business Institute.  She is a staunch advocate of community involvement, evidenced by her recognition from the City of New York and former New York City Council member Una Clarke. “I learned from an early age that working in a community and organizing with others is the best way for people to come together for a worthy cause,” she says.

EMBASSY OF BARBADOS RECEPTION

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KARIB NATION, Inc. hosted a reception on Wednesday June 26/2013 at the Embassy of Barbados, to commemorate the National Caribbean American Heritage Month. The reception featured remarks by ambassador of Barbados Mr. John Beal and Commonwealth of  Dominica

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Ambassador John Beal and Commonwealth of Dominica Head of Mission Hubert John Charles

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(Center) MAGALIE EMILE Co-Founder of the Haiti Renewal Alliance

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Ambassador to the United State, for the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Mr. ELLISTON RAHMING and Consul General Mrs. PAULETTE ADDERLEY ZONICLE

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Ambassadors of St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Barbados, The Commonwealth of Dominica and Guyana

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Ambassadors of St. Vincent & The Grenadines Ms. La Celia A. Prince, Barbados, Mr. John Beal, Chief of Mission, The Commonwealth of Dominica Mr. Hubert John Charles and Ambassador of the Republic of Guyana Mr. Bayney Karran

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Designer MICHEL CHATAIGNE

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Attorney Keshia Baird and Event co-host Cornel Ferdinand

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Attorney Dennis Baird and Dr. Rosemay McDowall

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JENNIFER FISHER, Fashion Delegate and CHRISTINE BROOKS CROPPER , President, The Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce

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PRISCA MILLIANCE (Fashion Designer)

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PAMELA CHASE-GRIFFITH & STAFF MEMBER OF CARIBBEAN CARGO DC

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Mr. ELVIS DOUGLAS

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CORNEL FERDINAND 

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SAMANTHA BOYCE

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St. Vincent & The Grenadines Ambassador, La CELIA A. PRINCE & Mrs. CHARLES

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Barbados Ambassador JOHN BEAL

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JANICE SUSAN WALLACE, Editor In Chief FACON MAGAZINE and Ambassador HUBERT CHARLES

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SAMANTHA BOYCE

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CHARDELLE MOORE, Designer CHANTNEY RENESE & TONI BURNETT

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Left, Ms. SIMONE RUDDER,  Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Barbados

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DAPHNE JONES

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Mr. JOSH FARLEY

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LIZE-ANNE BONHOMME  SALIMA MONTES, Event Coordinator and BEATRICE HYACINTHE

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Celebrity Make-up Artist MAISIE DUNBAR & Designer MICHEL CHATAIGNE

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Designer KIMYA GLASGOW

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Designer MICHEL CHATAIGNE & Model Mamé Kyira 

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Ambassador BEAL & Mrs. GRACE ROBERTS

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Model LENJO, Ambassador JOHN BEAL & Designer ANDREW HARRIS

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Designer ANDREW HARRIS, Ms. FINIANAH JOSEPH, Caribbean Professional Network, Model LENJO KILO & Designer LUANN SKAGGS

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Ken Char

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Model LENJO KILO, Designers KEISHA EDWARDS & ANDREW HARRIS

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Mr. Elvis Douglas, Mr. Joslyn Farley, Attorney Dennis Baird and Dr. Rosemary McDowall

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CARIBBEAN STYLE & CULTURE AWARDS & FASHION SHOWCASE 2013

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The Fourth Annual CARIBBEAN STYLE & CULTURE AWARDS & FASHION SHOWCASE was held on Friday June 28th. at the Marriott Inn & Conference Center to commemorate National Caribbean American Heritage Month. As declared by President Barack Obama, the month of June is Caribbean American Heritage Month.

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MICHEL CHATAIGNE, HAITI – 2013 AWARD RECIPIENT 

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GLENROY MARCH, (D’Marsh Couture) JAMAICA

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Emerging Designer KEISHA EDWARDS, (ShaSha Designs) GUYANA –  unveiled an on-trend collection that combined youthful exuberance with feminine allure.

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LUANN SKAGGS, Luz-Way Designs, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

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MICA HARRIGAN, (“Nanichi”) Anguilla

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ANDREW HARRIS, (ANDREW HARRIS COLLECTION) – GUYANA/BARBADOS – 2013 AWARD RECIPIENT

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SHARON COX-COLE, (Shaco Designs) TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – 2013 AWARD RECIPIENT

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CHANTNEY RENESE, PUERTO RICO 

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KIMYA GLASGOW, ST. VINCENT & THE GRENADINES – 2013  AWARD RECIPIENT

KARIB NATION, Inc. – White House Presentation

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Karib Nation, Inc. was invited to showcase a preview of Caribbean Style & Culture at the White House’s National Caribbean-American Heritage Month and Immigration Briefing on Wednesday June 26/2013.

The presentation featured Five fashion designers, KIMYA GLASGOW, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, GLENROY MARCH, D;Marsh Couture, Jamaica, KEISHA EDWARDS, “Shasha Designs” Guyana, MICHEL CHATAIGNE, Haiti and CHANTNEY RENESE, Puerto Rico.

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KIMYA GLASGOW, St. Vincent & The Grenadines

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MICHEL CHATAIGNE, Haiti

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KEISHA EDWARDS, Guyana

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CHANTNEY RENESE, Puerto Rico

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MAISIE DUNBAR, MICHEL CHATAIGNE & SALIMA MONTES

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KIMYA GLASGOW, MAISIE DUNBAR & MICHEL CHATAIGNE

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CARIBBEAN STYLE & CULTURE – “Behind The Scenes”

KARIB NATION, Inc’s Caribbean Style & Culture was held on Friday June 28/2013 at The Marriott Inn & Conference Center in Hyattsville, Maryland.

The annual Caribbean Style & Culture Fashion Awards and Showcase with the “ALL WHITE AFTER PARTY”  was,  from the front, a bevvy of shiny guests, sparkling wine and champagne, glamorous decor and high-end fashion enthusiasts.

Cali TV host Chardelle Moore and Cornel Ferdinand co-hosted the show. This is a soft focus of behind the scenes preparation for the runway presentation of “SOMETHING AMAZING”

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SALIMA MONTES, the Producer of Caribbean Style & Culture.

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KIM CONNELL,  Co-owner of SALON OBSESSIONS, Hair Stylist of Caribbean Style & Culture

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BARRY CONNELL, Co-owner SALON OBSESSIONS

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SAMANTHA BOYCE, Director of Runway & White House Showcase

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MAISIE DUNBAR of MAISIE DUNBAR SPA LOUNGE, BLUFFAJO COSMETICS, exclusive Make-up of Caribbean Style & Culture “SOMETHING AMAZING”

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AYANNA ALEXANDER Trinidad Olympian with the MAISIE DUNBAR Make-up Team

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MICHEL CHATAIGNE & MAISIE DUNBAR

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White House Event preparation by MAISIE DUNBAR (BLUFFAJO COSMETICS) @Maisie Dunbar Spa Lounge, Silver Spring Maryland

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MUA WINNIE HARTMAN-GROSS & LUANN SKAGGS of LUZWAY DESIGNS

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DESIGNER MICHEL CHATAIGNE

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DESIGNER ILKA HARRIGAN of “NANICHI”

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INFLUENTIAL CARIBBEAN WOMEN Part 10

HER EXCELLENCY SONIA M. JOHNNY

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Sonia M. Johnny presented her credentials to President Barack Obama on September 19, 2012, as the ambassador from the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia.  She had previously served as her country’s envoy to Washington from 1997 to 2007. Succeeding Michael Lewis, who had served since July 2008, Johnny is concurrently accredited as St. Lucia’s permanent representative of Saint Lucia to the Organization of American States (OAS).

Born 1953, Johnny, earned a graduate degree in International Public Policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a law degree at the Georgetown University Law School. She was licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia in 1993.

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Joining the St. Lucian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1979, Johnny rose to head the ministry’s Political and Economics Division.  In November 1997, Johnny became St. Lucia’s first female ambassador, representing her country in Washington until March 1, 2007. Concurrently accredited to the OAS, she immediately became the Chairman of the Leo Rowe Fund, which provides interest-free loans under the OAS Fellowships and Scholarships Department, remaining at the helm for eight years. She was also of the OAS Permanent Council in 2006. Johnny spent much of her energies on the “banana war,” a three-cornered trade dispute among the U.S., the European Union, and banana producing countries in the Caribbean and Central America, including St. Lucia.

After leaving the Foreign Ministry, Johnny worked at OAS from March 2007 to November 2010, first as chief of the Tourism Section in the Department of Trade, Tourism and Competitiveness, and then as deputy director of the Summits Secretariat.

Sonia Johnny is married to Lloyd Jackson, an American citizen who works for USAID and is currently Supervisory Program Officer assigned to Kosovo.

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JOANNE C. HILLHOUSE

joanne-c-hillhouse-03Joanne C. Hillhouse’s writing has been described as “honest”, “real”, “poetic”, and “lyrical”. Her Antiguan culture is at the heart of her writing: “Obvious is the ‘writer’s ear’ for effective characterization and narrative that stays true to Caribbean island experience”

 A University of the West Indies graduate, she has participated in the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute (University of Miami), Breadloaf Writers Conference (Middlebury College, Vermont), and Texas A & M’s Callaloo Writers Workshop. Her awards and fellowships include the Michael and Marilee Fairbanks International Fellowship to attend Breadloaf in 2008, the David Hough Literary Prize from the Caribbean Writer in 2011, recognition by JCI West Indies in 2011 as one of Ten Outstanding Young Persons in the region, and a 2004 UNESCO Honor Award for her contribution to literacy and the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. Her involvement in nurturing and advocating for the arts include the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize and the Cushion Club, literary showcases (Word Up! and others), and literary workshops and competitions (A &B’s Independence literary competition etc.).

Joanne has read at Brown University, University of Miami, Middlebury College, University of Toronto, and at the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars conference in Suriname. She was keynote speaker when University of Puerto Rico held its annual Islands in-Between conference at the Antigua State College; the inaugural author in New York at the Meet the Author series hosted by the Friends of Antigua Public Library, which also hosted the New York launch of Oh Gad!; and a speaker and panelist at the 13th annual conference of the ACWWS and the BIM symposium Celebrating Caribbean Women Writers. She was sponsored by the Commonwealth with a small group of Antiguan and Barbudan writers to attend the Calabash Literary Festival in Jamaica; and has also been a part over the years of the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival.

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She has published poetry and fiction in Caribbean, African, and American journals including The Caribbean Writer, Small Axe, Calabash, Mythium, Sea Breeze, Tongues of the Ocean, Poui and others. In 2008, a Moonlight street festival celebrating her book Dancing Nude in the Moonlight capped off an “official summer read” campaign organized by the Best of Books bookstore and the ABILF.

As a freelance journalist and writer, Joanne has received health and environmental awards; published feature articles in Américas, Caribbean Beat, CLR James Journal, Zing plus. She’s worked in local television/film – including as associate producer of Antigua’s first feature length film The Sweetest Mango and production manager on its second, No Seed. She’s consulted on campaigns by the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation, Environmental Awareness Group (Antigua), the Commonwealth Youth Program  the Antigua and Barbuda Waste Recycling Corporation, and others; as well as corporate, book, and anthology projects.

Writing and reading have remained her twin passions, however: “I was influenced to write by my desire to tell stories, to impact readers in the way that my favorite stories i impacted me…I’m just a sucker for a good story.”

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EDWIDGE DANTICAT

40_lit_briefsEdwidge Danticat was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. When she was two years old, her father André immigrated to New York, to be followed two years later by her mother Rose. This left Danticat and her younger brother Eliab to be raised by her aunt and uncle. Although her formal education in Haiti was in French, she spoke Kreyòl at home.

While still in Haiti, Danticat wrote her first short story about a girl who was visited by a clan of women each night. At the age of 12, she moved to Brooklyn, New York, to join her parents in a heavily Haitian Americanneighborhood. As she was an immigrant teenager, Edwidge’s accent and upbringing were a source of discomfort for her, thus she turned to literature for solace. Two years later she published her first writing, in English, “A Haitian-American Christmas: Cremace and Creole Theatre,” in New Youth Connections, a citywide magazine written by teenagers. She later wrote a story about her immigration experience for New Youth Connections, “A New World Full of Strangers”. In the introduction to Starting With I, an anthology of stories from the magazine, Danticat wrote, “When I was done with the [immigration] piece, I felt that my story was unfinished, so I wrote a short story, which later became a book, my first novel: Breath, Eyes, Memory…. Writing for New Youth Connections had given me a voice. My silence was destroyed completely, indefinitely.”

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After graduating from Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn, New York, Danticat entered Barnard College in New York City. Initially she had intended on studying to become a teacher, but her love of writing won out and she received a BA in French literature. In 1993, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Brown University—her thesis, entitled “My turn in the fire – an abridged novel”,  was the basis for her novel Breath, Eyes, Memory,  which was published by Soho Press in 1994. Four years later it became an Oprah’s Book Club selection.

Since completing her MFA, Danticat has taught creative writing at both New York University and the University of Miami. She has also worked with filmmakers Patricia Benoit and Jonathan Demme, on projects on Haitian art and documentaries about Haïti.[citation needed] Her short stories have appeared in over 25 periodicals and have been anthologized several times. Her work has been translated into numerous other languages including French, Korean, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish.

Z 5Danticat is a strong advocate for issues affecting Haitians abroad and at home. In 2009, she lent her voice and words to Poto Mitan: Haitian Women Pillars of the Global Economy, a documentary about the impact of globalization on five women from different generations.

Danticat has also won fiction awards from Essence and Seventeen magazines, was named “1 of 20 people in their twenties who will make a difference” in Harper’s Bazaar, was featured in New York Times Magazine as one of “30 under 30” people to watch, and was called one of the “15 Gutsiest Women of the Year” by Jane Magazine.

Danticat is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, she is married to Fedo Boyer. She has two daughters, Mira and Leila.

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CAROLE BEROTTE JOSEPH, PhD

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Carole Berotte Joseph is the nation’s First Haitian born US College President, the fourth president of Massachusetts Bay Community College (MassBay) in Wellesley Hills, MA. She will be its first woman president since its inception. She served as the college’s chief executive for almost a year already, before becoming president. Dr. Joseph, the eldest daughter of a teacher and a nurse, knew growing up in Brooklyn that she wanted to teach. “On snow days and bad weather days, I would line up the kids and I would lead in playing school,” she recalls.

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dr. Joseph immigrated to the United States as a young girl in 1957 with her family during the years of Haiti’s Duvalier dictatorship. She earned her Bachelor Degree (cum laude) in Spanish and Education from the York College of the City University of New York (CUNY), and a Masters degree (magna cum laude) in curriculum and teaching and in bilingual education from Fordham University. She received her Ph.D. in bilingual education and sociolinguistics from New York University in 1992. Berotte Joseph, 57, speaks four languages: Creole, French, Spanish and English.

A socio-linguist, Dr. Joseph entered the field of higher education as an adjunct lecturer in the Bilingual Education Program at the City College of CUNY. Within a year, she became a full-time faculty member and was instrumental in developing bilingual education programs for Haitian immigrant students enrolled in the New York City public schools. In 1996, Dr. Joseph became the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Hostos Community College and was later promoted to Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Active in the Haitian-American community, Dr. Joseph is the immediate past president of the Haitian Studies Association, a university-based scholarly organization which provides access to resources and documents the history and culture of Haitians. Dr. Joseph has also served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the New York State Association for Bilingual Education

As a staunch advocate of community colleges, Dr. Berotte Joseph’s vision is to make MassBay one of the premiere community colleges in the state of Massachusetts. My goal is to create a dynamic environment for students with the best faculty and the highest level of support services, says Dr. Berotte Joseph.

Dr Joseph believe Community Colleges are somewhat underrated and little recognized, but they play a critical role in our economy. Many times when there is a shortage of workers in a certain sector, such as nursing, community colleges are nimble and have an edge over four-year colleges.

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Dr. Joseph, joined Dutchess Community College on October 1, 2000, provided academic leadership through the creation of seven new degree and certificate programs at the College. Many of these programs were initiated in response to community needs and developed collaboratively with community advisory committees and DCC faculty and staff.

Under Dr. Joseph’s leadership, the College expanded its collaborative programs with Dutchess County high schools, increasing the number of DCC credit classes offered to concurrently-enrolled high school students.

Dr. Joseph also active in the State University of New York Teacher Education Advisory Council, a group developed by SUNY Chancellor Robert King, in which she worked to create new teacher education templates for the SUNY system. She has also been active on the SUNY Professional Development Task Force, where she initiated discussions on the creation of a Distinguished Professorship Award for faculty members at Sony’s community colleges.

Dr. Joseph Also served on the boards of the Duchess County Chapter of the American Red Cross, the United Way of Duchess County, the Family Partnership Center, and the Hyde Park Recreation Commission.*

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MARLIE HALL

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Marlie Hall is an award-winning Broadcast Journalist. She is currently a Freelance Correspondent for CBS Newspath – CBS News’ satellite news gathering service. Before joining CBS Newspath in December of 2012, Marlie was the original Host of “Eye Opener” – a morning news program on PHL 17 in Philadelphia. Marlie is also a Correspondent and Host for One Caribbean Television – an international network broadcasting to more than 30 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America as well as five major U.S. cities on RCN Cable.

In 2010, Marlie was a Freelance Digital Journalist with NBC Universal’s theGrio.com and Co-Host of “Profiles” – the award-winning celebrity interview show on NYC-TV.  From 2004 to 2009, she served as Anchor and Correspondent for Cablevision’s HDNews – the nation’s first 24-hour High Definition News Network. In addition to anchoring the network’s nightly newscast, Marlie reported major news events from the field. She covered the historic 2008 Obama Presidential Election from states all over the country. She also travelled internationally to Haiti to report on the healthcare crisis there. It was this international reporting that earned her a Bronze Telly Award in 2009. She went to Haiti again in 2010 to report on the Haitian Earthquake for NBC Universal.

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Before Joining HDNews, Marlie hosted her own show on the Food Network called “Recipe for Success” in addition to several network specials. It was this stint in the world of non-fiction programming that lead to Hosting jobs on NYC-TV, WEBMD-TV and CHIC.TV.

Prior to that, Marlie worked as General Assignment Reporter for WCBS-TV in 2003. She also worked as an Anchor and Reporter for News 12 The Bronx (2000 – 2003).

She received her undergraduate degree in Journalism from St. John’s University where she also served as an Adjunct Professor of Mass Communications and earned a Master’s of Business Administration at Dowling College in New York. She is current enrolled at Penn State studying Weather Forecasting.

Marlie currently resides in New York and is proud to be a Haitian-American.

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OONYA KEMPADOO

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Born in England of Guyanese parents, Oonya has lived and worked for most of her life in various Caribbean islands and is currently based in Grenada. A creative writer and novelist, she also works freelance as a researcher and consultant in the arts, private sector, with youth and international organizations, focusing on social development.

Oonya started writing in 1997 and her first novel Buxton Spice, is a story of a young girl’s growing sexual awareness and sexuality set in the multi-racial society of Guyana disintegrating under a corrupt government. Buxton Spice was auctioned in London between major publishers and was published by Phoenix House, Orion UK 1998, and by Dutton/Plume, USA 1999, Beacon Press USA 2004. Also published in Spanish (Tusquet Editores,1999 – El Arbol de los Sentidos), French (Grasset, 1999 – Les Secrets du Manguier), and in Italian, Dutch, Portuguese and Hebrew, serialized for radio by BBC Radio 4.

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Her second novel, Tide Running, set in Tobago, is a vernacular account of a young Tobagonian’s intimate, ultimately disastrous intersection with a wealthy interracial couple and the predicament of a young society looking to America for fantasies and heroes. It also raises unsettling questions about relationships, wealth and responsibility, racial, cultural and class differences. Tide Running was published by Picador, Macmillan UK, 2001, Farrar Straus & Giroux, USA, 2003, Beacon Press USA 2004 and won a Casa De Las Americas prize, 2002. It was also well received on both sides of the Atlantic, and Oonya was named a “Great Talent for the 21st Century” by the Orange Prize judges.

‘All Decent Animals’ is published by Farrar Straus & Giroux, USA May 2013. This novel looks at personal aesthetic choices and at the island of Trinidad, developing but rich, aiming at ‘world class’ status a-midst its poor, island cousins. It is about relationships examined around the death of an architect bridging ‘first world/third world’, and through the city of Port of Spain. Loyalties, love, conflicting cultures and creativity are central themes as well as unspoken sexuality, HIV/AIDS and euthanasia.
All Decent Animals is a forthright inquiry into the complexity of character, social issues and Island society, with all of its humor,  mysticism and tragedy.

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Oonya is working on a non-fiction narrative/novel in progress:

‘Ti Marie’ (working title) is based on documenting and then voicing an eighteen year old Grenadian girl’s life story of sexual abuse, violence, rape, love, sexuality and motherhood. It reflects her own and local perceptions of what is considered abuse or normal, and contrasts these with institutional and foreign views. It will look at how the heroine and her wider society deal with these issues, as she carries on with her life. The narrator’s authentic humorous language and irrepressible character will bring a fresh, vigorous approach to old universal themes and particular Caribbean psycho-social issues.

Kempadoo’s novels are used in several universities in the US, UK, Canada and the Caribbean and she has contributed to collections, anthologies and journals such as: Trinidad Noir, Akashic Books, 2008; Caribbean Dispatches – Beyond the Tourist Dream, Macmillan 2006; The Bomb, literary magazine.

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LORRAINE TOUSSAINT

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Lorraine Toussaint (born April 4, 1960) is a Trinidadian-born American actress best known for her role as Rene Jackson in Lifetime drama series “Any Day Now” (1998-2002).

When deciding upon a career, Lorraine  let her fingers do the walking. The accomplished actress gained her initial interest in the acting profession after somebody asked her, at the age of 11, what she wanted to do with her life. Puzzled, she opened the yellow pages, turned to the “A” section and found a variety of advertisements for acting schools. She decided to give it a try, called the school with the largest ad and quickly found herself hooked.

Toussaint studied at the renowned High School of Performing Arts in New York and The Julliard School. On her graduation day, she landed her first paying job as Lady MacBeth with Shakespeare & Company. That was the beginning for Toussaint, who spent the next 12 years working in New York theater, prior to moving to Los Angeles.

Nominated for four NAACP Image Awards for Best Actress in a Drama Series, a TV Guide Award nomination for Best Actress in a Drama Series and the recipient of The Wiley A. Branton Award from the National Bar Association, Toussaint starred for four seasons as Rene Jackson on Lifetime’s critically acclaimed series “Any Day Now. “

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She has also starred on “Crossing Jordan,” “Leaving L.A.,” “Amazing Grace,” “Where I Live” and Steven Spielberg’s “Class of ’61.” Toussaint’s memorable recurring roles include “Law & Order,” “Murder One,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and, most recently, “Ugly Betty.” She also appeared in several telefilms, including ABC’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” ABC’s “Lullabyes and Lies,” CBS’s “Common Ground,” directed by Mike Newell, and HBO’s “Cherokee Kid, America’s Dream” and the multiple-award winning “If These Walls Could Talk.”

Toussaint’s feature film credits include “The Soloist” opposite Jamie Foxx, “Point of No Return,” “Psalms From The Underground,” “Black Dog,” “Breaking In” and “Hudson Hawk.”

Toussaint recently produced the Hallmark Channel telefilm “Accidental Friendship,” starring Chandra Wilson and Ben Vereen. It premiered to spectacular ratings and has earned three 2009 NAACP Image Award Nominations, including Outstanding Television Movie.

Toussaint currently lives in Los Angeles with her daughter Samara Grace.

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INFLUENTIAL CARIBBEAN WOMEN – Part 9

Deputy Governor ANYA WILLIAMS

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Permanent Secretary of Finance Anya Williams has been appointed as the new deputy governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands by William Hague, U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs began in October, 2012, when the new Constitution took effect.

“Anya Williams was selected through a rigorous and open selection process,” said His Excellency the Gov. Ric Todd. “She was a very strong candidate who has previously played a positive role in introducing reform in the Ministry of Finance in the TCI civil service and has worked with all ministries, departments and statutory bodies throughout government in her previous roles.”

The deputy governor is head of the public service, a non-voting member of Cabinet and acts as governor when the governor is absent from the territory. Williams will be the line manager of the permanent secretaries and will chair a permanent secretaries’ committee that will prepare legislation and decisions for Cabinet.

The position of deputy governor has been vacant since September 2009. The Constitution requires the appointment of a deputy governor who is a Turks and Caicos Islander.

Williams was named permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economics in February 2012. Government made the following statement about her qualifications at that time:

“Ms. Williams brings to the position effective management, communication, leadership and interpersonal skills; ability to prepare and present clear and concise reports; strong presentation skills; and excellent team-working and multi-tasking ability. She has a successful track record with completing given assignments on time, works well on her own initiative, welcomes the challenge of problem solving and is versatile and adaptable.

Premier-and-Dep_-GovTurks and Caicos Islands Deputy Governor Anya Williams and the Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing.

“Ms. Williams has, since 2003, worked as Budget Director in the Ministry of Finance where, among other things she is responsible for the preparation of the Government’s annual budget and the implementation and monitoring of that budget through monthly analysis of revenue and expenditure. She also oversees the management of 84 functioning departments’ revenue, expenditure and other operations; and ensures the effective utilization of resources as it relates to investment opportunities, re-positioning of funds to meet priorities, and program performance. She is one of the principal advisers to Government on all policy and financial related matters. Ms. Williams has also worked as Accountant with Torrin’s Surveys and Intern with the TCI Financial Control Unit Office.

“Her major accomplishments include undertaking a successful operations review of the Government which led to the cancellation, review and re-tendering of services resulting in cost savings in a one year period of over $80 million in 2008-09. She played an active role as a Member of the TCI Tourist Board and through critical review and re-negotiations  was able to rid the body of $8 million in debt. She served as a member of the Ten Year Development Plan Working Group and the National Health Insurance Plan Working Group.

“Ms. Williams holds Masters and Bachelors degrees in Accounting and an Associate degree in Law, English and Accounting.”

DAME MARY EUGENIA CHARLES

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Dame Eugenia Charles, the former Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica led her island nation for 15 years, during which she became known as the “Iron Lady of the Caribbean” for her steely determination to put her country on the path to stability and prosperity and for her outspoken stance on controversial issues.

She attracted international attention in 1983 when, as chairman of the Organisation of East Caribbean States, she persuaded President Ronald Reagan to send American troops to Grenada, Dominica’s neighbour and fellow Commonwealth member, to crush a military coup by Cuban-backed leftists who had seized power on the island after overthrowing (and subsequently murdering) its moderate prime minister, Maurice Bishop.

The American invasion caused outrage among Commonwealth members and at the UN. It also embarrassed the British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, who had not been warned about the venture until it was too late to do anything to prevent it. In the longer term, however, the American intervention came to be viewed as an “historic marker” which had reversed the tide of Communist infiltration in the region.

Eugenia Charles remained staunch in her defence of the invasion, regarding it as a “pre-emptive strike” which had removed a “dangerous threat to peace and security”. When Labour’s foreign affairs spokesman, Denis Healey, accused her of having been virtually kidnapped by the Americans, she turned the tables on her accuser by retorting that he would never have dared to make such an insulting remark about the Prime Minister of Canada: “It’s only because we’re small and black that he’s prepared to say that.” In response to criticism by sundry African leaders, she drily conceded that Caribbean countries had asked themselves Robert Mugabe’s question, “Who would be next?” as they looked at Grenada. That was why they had supported the American rescue operation. “The Grenadians wanted it, and that’s all that counts,” she said. “I don’t care what the rest of the world thinks.”

EugeniaCharlesCharles meets with American President Ronald Reagan in the White House’s Oval Office.

The granddaughter of a former slave, Mary Eugenia Charles was born on May 15 1919 at Pointe Michel, near the Dominican capital of Roseau. Her father, John Baptiste Charles, was a successful planter and investor, though it was her mother, Josephine, who dominated her upbringing and encouraged her in her career.

Eugenia Charles was educated at convents in Dominica and Grenada and, after leaving school, took a secretarial course. To improve her shorthand, she practised taking notes in courtrooms, an experience that aroused her interest in the law. After studying at the University of Toronto and the LSE, she was called to the bar by the Inner Temple in 1947. She returned to Dominica to become the island’s first woman lawyer, opening a practice in Roseau.

Eugenia Charles became interested in politics and, though not active in any party, gained a reputation as an outspoken critic of government abuses and official corruption through the acidic letters she sent to newspapers.

When, in 1968, the ruling Labour Party passed a law of sedition to silence critics, she joined with others to form an organisation called Freedom Fighters and travelled round the country to address protest rallies. A year later, Freedom Fighters developed into the centre-Right Dominica Freedom Party, and Eugenia Charles reluctantly agreed to become party leader. In 1970 five party members were elected to the legislature and, although she was not among them, Eugenia Charles was able under the consitution to take an appointed seat.

At that time Dominica, which since 1967 had been part of the six-member West Indies Associated States dependent on Great Britain on a voluntary basis, was moving towards independence. In 1977 Eugenia Charles joined a delegation that went to London for independence talks.

After formal independence was declared in 1978, she led the opposition to the scandal-ridden Labour administration of Patrick John, speaking out against the government’s alleged secret business dealings with South Africa and the economic mismanagement that had brought the country to the verge of bankruptcy.

In an atmosphere of mounting public unrest, the Freedom Party gained popularity and was joined by several government ministers. In June 1979, following a general strike, the John government was forced out of office. An interim administration under James Seraphine fared little better, and Dominica’s woes were compounded by Hurricane David, which struck the island in August 1979, killing 42 people, leaving 65,000 homeless and devastating the island’s banana crop, its main source of income. The following year the government yielded to public pressure and called a general election for July 21 1980. Eugenia Charles’s party won with more than 52 per cent of the vote.

From the beginning, Eugenia Charles made clear her determination to lead from the front, taking over, in addition to her prime ministerial responsibilities, the key portfolios of foreign affairs and development and finance.

SNAPSHOT: DOMINICA

Within months she had dismissed corrupt officials, penalised tax dodgers and ordered the nation’s 200-strong defence force to disband and hand over its arms to the police, after military officers were found to have been selling weapons to Rastafarian marijuana growers. Within 18 months she had successfully repulsed three coup attempts, two of them orchestrated by Patrick John, who, with his chief agents was arrested and jailed.

In 1981, with American support, she launched a wide-ranging reform programme in education, health care and economic development. By the following year, inflation had fallen from 30 per cent to four per cent; new light industries were starting up; agricultural production improved; the tourist industry increased substantially; and the balance of trade deficit was cut by a half.

Eugenia Charles regarded herself very much as the mother of her people, taking a tough line with drug growers, and rejecting overtures from foreign businessmen wanting to establish casinos or night clubs on the island, fearing that such establishments might attract criminal elements. Buoyed by the success of her domestic policies and her reputation for tough and principled leadership, she won two more five-year terms.

charles-and-thatcherDame Mary Eugenia Charles (left) with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in India in 1983

Mary Eugenia Charles was knighted by Queen Elizabeth 11 at Harare, Zimbabwe in 1991, a fitting tribute to her distinguished career as lawyer, politician and journalist. She retired from the duties of Office in 1995 and very soon enrolled at the John Hopkins School of International Studies where she studied the European Union, the United States of America and Canada.

When asked to define the difference between male and female political leadership, Eugenia Charles observed: “Men tend to make decisions and leave it to others to carry out. Women follow up their actions to see what is happening to their plan.” She saw little place for western-style feminism in Dominica’s matriarchal society: “In Dominica, we really live women’s lib,” she explained. “We don’t have to expound it.”

In February 2003 the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community conferred upon her the Order of the Caribbean Community.

Eugenia Charles, who was created DBE in 1992, lived with her father until he died in 1983 aged 107. She never married. Dame Charles died in 2005 at age 86.

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DAME PAMELA GORDON-BANKS

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Making history as the first female Premier of Bermuda, Dame Pamela Gordon-Banks is the youngest daughter of noted labor leader and parliamentarian Dr. E.F. “Mazumbo” Gordon. When Pamela Gordon was sworn in as the premier on March 27, 1997, she became not only the first woman but also the youngest person ever to hold that post [aged 41 years]

Born on September 2, 1955 in Bermuda, she was the youngest of five children born to Mildred Layne Bean and Dr. E.F. Gordon. Her mother was pregnant when Dr. Gordon died in September 1955, and Ms.Gordon was born six months after his death.

Dr. Gordon and Mildred Bean never married, as Dr. Gordon was a Roman Catholic and, according to a strict interpretation of church laws, forbidden to divorce his first wife, Clara. Ms. Gordon was baptized Catholic and grew up at “Beulah,” the Gordon family estate, where her father used to hold meetings with his political supporters. Without him around, life was a struggle for Ms. Gordon and her siblings Olympia, Patricia, Keith and Edgar. Her mother worked as a switchboard operator to support the family. She attended Central School [now Victor Scott] and Berkeley Institute. She left school age of 16, when she became pregnant with her daughter Veronica. She later married the child’s father, Ronald Furbert and subsequently had a son. The couple later divorced.

Dame Gordon BanksLeft is DAME GORDON-BANKS

For a time, she owned and managed a restaurant, The Moonglow, in St. George’s, and worked as a sales accountant at St. George’s Club. She went on to earn her college degree in commerce from Queen’s University.

Entering the fray of Bermudian politics, she became a Senator in 1990. In March of 1992, Premier John Swan appointed her to his cabinet as Minister of Youth Development.

She later served as Minister of the Environment, Planning, and Recreation in the cabinet of Premier David J. Saul. In October of 1993, Ms. Gordon was elected to Bermuda’s House of Assembly as the representative for Southampton West.

In March of 1997, Premier David Saul announced his resignation and a contest for the leadership of the UBP ensued. Ms. Gordon and Irving Pearman quickly emerged as the front runners, with Gordon emerging victorious and was sworn in as premier by Governor Lord Waddington on March 27, 1997.

She served as Premier until the PLP won the 1998 November election.

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SENATOR IRENE SANDIFORD-GARNER

542247_10151334758018189_695357494_nSenator Irene Sandiford-Garner was born in the United Kingdom of Barbadian parents and has lived in Barbados since the age of 8.

She holds a post-graduate Diploma in Management and an MBA from the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus; qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK; and the Credit Union National Association of America (CUNA).  She also studied journalism at the Virginia Commonwealth University at Richmond on a scholarship from her then employers, the Nation Publishing Company, Barbados.

A staunch credit unionist, the Senator spent her latter 10 working years with the Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union Ltd., Barbados largest credit union, initiating their launch into the United States in 1996 and facilitating the creation and introduction of financial products and services.

Mrs. Sandiford-Garner was appointed to the Senate in February 2008 as Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Community Development.  She was subsequently assigned to the Prime Minister’s Office and became the country’s Principal Delegate to CIM (Inter American Commission of Women) in August 2008.  She is currently Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health.

Senator Sandiford-Garner has participated in the 25th Regional Women of the Church of God Symposium; UNIFEM workshop in Trinidad & Tobago “HIV/Aids and Sex Workers In the Region”; delivered the feature address at the Caribbean Institute of Women in Leadership launch; was sole discussant in UNIFEM panel/interview re: “Women in Local Politics”; featured speaker for the 2009 International Women’s Day symposium organised by the National Organisation of Women (NOW) and she recently opened a National Organisation of Women (NOW) Symposium on The Global Recession: Its Impact on Women and Children.

filesPM Kamla Persad-Bisessar chatting with Sen. Irene Sandiford-Garner, Vice President of the Inter-American Commission for Women.

In early 2010 Senator Sandiford-Garner was invited by the CIM to represent the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at a round table discussion hosted at the Organisation of American States (OAS) headquarters in Washington DC to launch the Inter American Year of Women.

She also represented her country at the European Economic Commission (ECCLAC) XI Regional conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean held in Brasilia, Brazil 13-16 July 2010. In early 2011 she presented Barbados’ report to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women at UN Headquarters, and participated in a workshop on behalf of the CIM for young women in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

A prolific writer, the Senator, as a freelancer, authored a popular weekly column entitled Candidly Speaking which appeared in the island’s widest circulated daily for seven unbroken years before her active participation in local politics necessitated its conclusion in 2006.

Senator Sandiford-Garner and her husband own two businesses and are parents of two young men aged 23 and 19.

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MARIA L. PHILOMENA LIBERIA-PETERS

Liberia PetersMaria … Philomena Liberia – Peters(b. May 20, 1941, Willemstad, Curacao, Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles (1984-85, 1988-93). She organized parents’ groups for political and social action and joined the National People’s Party (NVP). After she was approached to run for office, she won a seat on the Curacao island council in 1975. That body named her (1975-80) to an executive council which met regularly with Queen Beatrix’s representative. In 1982, Liberia-Peters was elected to the State (legislature) of the Netherlands Antilles and became Minister of Economic Affairs (December 1982-July 1983) in a coalition government which collapsed in June 1984. In September that same year, she was asked to form a new coalition government. Her first period as Prime Minister lasted until 1985, when political events intervened to make her, instead, leader of the opposition. She came back into the Prime Minister-ship in the spring of 1988. In 1993, her party was again defeated and she became head of the opposition once more, serving as a member of parliament and political leader of the NVP until 1994

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The Honorable JULIANA O’CONNOR-CONNOLLY, JP

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Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, JP is a Caymanian politician and the current Premier of the Cayman Islands. O’Connor-Connolly has served as premier since 19 December 2012, having succeeded McKeeva Bush, who was removed by way of a no confidence motion the previous day. O’Connor-Connolly currently serves as the second elected member for the district of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, serving her fourth term in the Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands.

O’Connor-Connolly is the first-ever female Premier of the Cayman Islands. Before becoming Premier, she was the Territory’s Deputy Premier serving from November 2009 until December 2012. In 1997 Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly became Cayman’s first woman minister when she was chosen to fill a vacancy on Executive Council as the Minister of Community Affairs, Sports, Women, Youth and Culture. O’Connor-Connolly has previously served as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly from November 2001 to October 2003. From October 2003 to April 2005 she served as Minister for Planning, Communications, District Administration and Information Technology.

O’Connor-Connolly was elected Deputy Premier during the Cayman Islands general election in 2009, and in addition to assuming the post of Deputy Premier, she served as Minister of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture. In 2012 O’Connor-Connolly assumed the post of Premier of the Cayman Islands she also currently serves as Minister of Finance, District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture.

Juliana

Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly has been elected to the Legislative Assembly since 1996; she is the first woman to represent the Sister Islands. In November 2001 she was a founding member of the United Democratic Party. Born and raised on Cayman Brac, she first pursued a career in teaching but later received a law degree from the University of Liverpool and was a practicing attorney before entering politics.

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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.

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