4 New Independent Senators

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

FOUR new independent senators have been appointed by President Christine Kangaloo.

They are Sunity Maharaj, Professor Gerard A Hutchinson, Dr Sharda Patasar and Helon Francis who will be the youngest independent senator in the current Parliament.

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They will be sworn in during the Ceremonial Opening of the Fourth Session of the 12th Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago on Monday.


They are replacing four previous independent senators: Amrita Deonarine, Dr Varma Deyalsingh, Charrise Seepersad and Evans Welch.

On Monday, the new independent senators were announced by the Office of the President.

Sunity Maharaj is a career journalist and multimedia professional who has worked in print and broadcast media for over 45 years.

Maharaj has headed journalist organisations including the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) 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.

Gerard A Hutchinson is a 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.

Dr Sharda Patasar is a multidisciplinary artist with a strong background in teaching, research and writing, and music composition, has a PhD 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.

Helon Francis, Calypso Monarch 2018, Young King and Song of the Year winner 2016.

In addition to his singing career, 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.


They are all expected to take their oath of office during the Parliamentary session on Monday.

The President also thanked the previous independent senators “for their dedicated and unstinting service.”

Remaining on the independent senators bench are: Paul Richards, Deoroop Teemal, Hazel Thompson-Ahye, Anthony Viera and Maria Dillon-Remy.


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