Kamla Persad-Bissessar became the first woman to hold the office of Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in 2010.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar was born on the 22nd of April, 1952. Mrs. Persad-Bissessar graduated from Iere High School and went on to further her studies at the University of the West Indies, Norwood Technical College (England,) and the Hugh Wooding Law School. Consequently, she was awarded a B.A. (Hons.), a Diploma in Education, a B.A. of Laws (Hons.) and a Legal Education Certificate. In 2006 she obtained an Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA) from the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, Trinidad.
On completion of her studies, Mrs. Persad-Bissessar entered the teaching profession. Her career history can be described as people-centered and one that has always focused her energy within the public’s eye. While in England pursuing studies, she worked as a social worker with the Church of England Children’s Society of London. She taught at the St. Andrew High School in Kingston, Jamaica and at the Mona Campus in Jamaica. Later, she taught at the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. At the Jamaica College of Insurance she was also a Consultant Lecturer. Her next step was to lecture at a Tertiary Education institution. After lecturing for a total of six years, Mrs. Persad-Bissessar then became a full-time Attorney-at-Law.
In 1987 Mrs. Persad-Bissessar entered the political arena. From 1987 until 1991, Mrs. Persad-Bissessar served as an alderman for St. Patrick County Council. Representing the United National Congress in Opposition, she took the Oath of Allegiance at a sitting of the Senate on November 1, 1994. Since 1995 she has been the Member of Parliament for Siparia, serving as Attorney General, Minister of Legal Affairs and Minister of Education between 1995 and 2001. The United National Congress returned to the Opposition benches in 2002 and on April 26th, 2006, Mrs. Persad-Bissessar was appointed Leader of the Opposition, the first woman to ever hold that position in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Mrs. Persad-Bissessar was appointed Leader of the Opposition a second time on February 25, 2010, almost one month after she was elected political leader of the United National Congress. In 2019, Kamla Persad-Bissessar was named the thirteenth most influential female leader around the world by Time magazine.
Image via Commonwealth Secretariat