Former Minister for Community Development and Women Affairs, Gertrude Roberts has passed away.
Dominica News Online (DNO) learned of her passing, at the age of 90, on Wednesday night.
Roberts, a former educator and United Workers Party (UWP) parliamentarian and government minister, was the mother of Gretta Roberts, the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) candidate for the Grand Fond, Morne Jaune/Riviere Cyrique constituency for the upcoming General Elections.
In a Facebook post, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit extended condolences to the family of the late Gertrude Roberts who he said was a giant of a woman in many ways.
“We have all been touched in some way by her contributions to Dominica at various levels, from her community outreach to her stellar teaching career, followed by her leadership as a parliamentary representative,” he stated.
He said she was a mentor and a maternal figure to many.
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 and 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.
Her teaching career began at the Delices Government School in 1950. Seven years later (1957) she was promoted to Principal. She holds teaching certificates from the Leeward Islands Teachers college in Antigua (1959) and the University of New Castle Upon Tyne (1970).
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 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.
The Opposition UWP plans to issue a statement on Roberts’ passing later today.