Justice Paula-Mae Weekes has been elected president of island nation Trinidad and Tobago. This makes her the first woman to lead the twin sovereign island in the southernmost part of the Caribbean.
She was nominated by the government and endorsed by the country’s opposition leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, to serve as the country’s next head of state.
Justice Weekes was serving as the judge of the Turks and Caicos Islands Court of Appeal, having been sworn into office in February 2017. She has served in other high legal positions, including serving as Justice of Appeal in Trinidad and Tobago, a judge at the Court of Appeals and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
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The Trinidad and Tobago Constitution provides that the President is elected by the Electoral College that votes by secret ballot. Ten senators, 12 members of the House of Representatives, and the House Speaker make the quorum of the Electoral College.
The country’s outgoing president, Anthony Carmona, will end his five-year term in March, after which Justice Weekes is expected to assume office.
The country’s current Prime Minister is Dr Keith Christopher Rowley. He is an MP and exercises executive authority on behalf of the president.