Four new Independent Senators will take their oaths of office in Parliament later today. The incoming group includes a former Calypso Monarch, a veteran journalist, a renowned psychiatrist, and a multidisciplinary artist, the Office of the President has confirmed.
The outgoing Independent Senators are Ms Amrita Deonarine, Dr. Varma Deyalsingh, Ms Charrise Seepersad and Mr. Evans Welch.
The new Independent Senators are:
● Professor Gerard A. Hutchinson, Professor of Psychiatry and Unit Lead in the Psychiatry Unit of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine and the Head of the Department of Mental Health in the North Central Regional Health Authority. Professor Hutchinson has postgraduate qualifications in Epidemiology and Population Health (2001), Psychiatric Epidemiology (2002) and Psychiatry (2004) at the University of London.
● Ms Sunity Maharaj, a career journalist and multimedia professional who has worked in print and broadcast media for over 45 years. Ms Maharaj has headed journalist organisations including the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago and the Commonwealth Journalists Association and developed and implemented training programmes for journalists. She currently runs her own multi-media production company and works as an independent Media and Communications consultant.
● Dr. Sharda Patasar, a multidisciplinary artist with a strong background in teaching, research and writing, and music composition, has a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from the University of the West Indies. Apart from her academic and teaching work, Dr. Patasar has written extensively on culture in Trinidad for publications in the Caribbean, Europe, India and South Africa. Dr. Patasar is also known for her performances of her original compositions.
● Mr. Helon Francis, Calypso Monarch 2018, Young King and Song of the Year winner 2016. In addition to his singing career, Mr. Francis devotes his time to developing the skills and talents of artistic expression in young people and instructing students in physical fitness, sports, nutrition and the dangers of substance abuse. Mr. Francis, who is not yet 30 years old, will be the youngest Independent Senator in the current Parliament.