Trinidad and Tobago has elected its first female president, Paula-Mae Weekes, following a nomination by the government and endorsement by the opposition leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Justice Weekes has served as the judge of the Turks and Caicos Islands Court of Appeal since being sworn into office in February 2017 and has served in other high legal positions, including as a judge at the Court of Appeals and Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and as Justice of Appeal in Trinidad and Tobago.
She will be the first woman to lead the twin sovereign island, situated in the southernmost point of the Caribbean.
She will assume office when Anthony Carmona, Trinidad and Tobago’s outgoing president, ends his five-year term in March 2018 and will join only three other female heads of state of Commonwealth countries: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
Weekes will serve alongside the country’s current Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley MP, who exercises executive authority on behalf of the president.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Constitution states that the President is elected by the Electoral College, made up of 10 senators, 12 members of the House of Representatives, and the House Speaker, through a vote by secret ballot.