Former Cabinet Minister, Commonwealth of Dominica
Gertrude Roberts was a Dominican educator, politician, and a former Cabinet Minister.
Early life and education
Gertrude Roberts (née Jno Baptiste) was born in Delices, Dominica on 16 September 1929. She received her primary education at the Government school. She later received her national teacher's certificate in 1952. She held teaching certificates from the Leeward Islands Teachers college in Antigua (1959) and the Institute of Education of the University of New Castle Upon Tyne (1970).
Her teaching career began at the Delices Government School in 1950. Seven years later (1957) she was promoted to Principal. She was transferred to the La Plaine School from the Grand Fond School as the Headmistress in the fall of 1970. Prior to her arrival in La Plaine, few students were successful in the annual island-wide Common Entrance High School Exams.
In 1979, she helped form the "Pickaxe Brigade" to assist with reconstruction following Hurricane David. She also served as program coordinator for the National Council of Women for Dominica.
After retiring from education, the late Roberts joined the United Workers Party (UWP) in 1990 as the representative from the Grand Fond, Morne Jaune/Riviere Cyrique constituency. She was re-elected in 1995 and 2000. She served as the Minister for Community Development and Women Affairs from 1995 to 2000, working tirelessly on rural development programs and issues affecting the poor, gender equity, women’s rights, and empowerment. She did not seek re-election in 2005.
Honours and awards
In 1973, Roberts received the Meritorious Award from the government for her outstanding achievements in the modern concepts of Community Oriented Approach to Primary Education in Dominica.
In December 1954, Roberts married a native of Grand Fond, Inspector Reence Roberts of the Dominica Police Force now deceased. She is a mother of six children - five daughters and one son. Her daughter, Gretta Roberts in a candidate for the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) in the 2019 General Election.
Mrs. Roberts died on 6 November 2019. She was 90.