Her Excellency Dame Sandra Prunella Mason, GCMG, DA, QC
Governor-General of Barbados
Sandra Mason is a Barbadian is a former jurist and the current Governor-General of Barbados.
Early life and education
Sandra Prunella Mason was born on the 17 January 1949 in East Point, St. Philip, Barbados. On leaving St. Catherine’s Primary School at age nine, she attended Queen’s College, where she successfully obtained seven GCE O Level qualifications and A Level qualifications in French and English.
She began her tertiary level education at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados where she obtained the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree in 1973. She then obtained the Certificate of Legal Education from the Hugh Wooding Law School in 1975 and became the first Barbadian female to be admitted to the Barbados Bar in 1975.
In 1998 she completed a course in Judicial Administration RIPA, London and a course in Alternative Dispute Resolution at the University of Windsor, Canada and Stitt Field Hendy Houston ADR Ltd in 2000.
In 2001 she did a fellowship at the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute, Canada and advanced courses in Alternative Dispute Resolution presented by the University of the West Indies and University of Windsor, Canada.
Dame Sandra began her career as a teacher at the Princess Margaret Secondary School (1968-1969). In 1969-1970 she became a clerk at Barclays Bank DCO, Barbados and was promoted to Trust Administrator for the period 1975-1976. She was then transferred to assume this same position at Barclay’s Jamaica Ltd. in 1976. She became a member of Barclays Finance Corporation of Barbados that same year and held this post up to 1977.
In 1978, Dame Sandara began working as the Magistrate of the Juvenile and Family Court and simultaneously tutoring in family law at UWI. She stopped tutoring in 1983 and continued as magistrate until 1992.
She served on the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child from its 1991 the inception until 1999, holding the vice chair from 1993 to 1995 and chair from 1997 to 1999. Between 1991 and 1992 she served as chair and was one of the two women appointed to the 13-member CARICOM commission charged with evaluating regional integration. Mason left the family court in 1992 to serve as an Ambassador to Venezuela and was the first woman magistrate from Barbados to serve in that position. Upon her return to Barbados in 1994 she was appointed as Chief Magistrate for Barbados and then in 1997 became the Registrar of the Supreme Court.
She continued to serve as Registrar of the Supreme Court until 2005, when she was appointed to the Inner Bar of Barbados as Queen’s Counsel to the Inner Bar of Barbados. In 2008, she was sworn in as an Appeals Judge becoming the first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeals.
On 1 January 2014, she was first Barbadian to be appointed as a member of the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT), based in London, England.
Dame Sandra has held membership in various Organisations and Association and has chaired or was a member of a number of other Boards and Committees over the years. She was the Chairman of the West Indian Commission set up to look at the issue of regional integration (1991-1992); She has served as Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Pioneer of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (1991-1999), Geneva, Switzerland; Deputy Chairman Bridgetown District Council, Barbados Boys Scouts Association; member of the Board of Parent Education for Development of Barbados (PAREDOS).
On 27 December 2017, it was announced that Her Majesty The Queen, on the recommendation of Her Majesty’s Ministers in Barbados, had been graciously pleased to approve the appointment of The Honourable Sandra Prunella Mason, Justice of Appeal, as the eight Governor-General of Barbados, with effect from 8 January 2018.
While her major focus is her career, Dame Sandra takes an interest in reading, playing scrabble, watching cricket and traveling. However, her greatest achievement is being the mother of son Matthew, who is also an Attorney-at-Law.
Honours and awards
With Mason's appointment as Governor-General, Her Majesty The Queen agreed to confer on her the honour and dignity of Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (GCMG). On assumption of the office of Governor-General, under the Order of the Dame of Saint Andrew, she also became the Chancellor and Principal Dame of Saint Andrew (DA).
|Dame Sandra Mason being greeted by Queen Elizabeth during a private audience, 23 March 2018