Paula-Mae Weekes

Paula-Mae Weekes is a retired Justice of Appeal of the judiciaries of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and The Turks and Caicos Islands. She was educated at the Bishop Anstey High School, a premier secondary educational institution established in 1921 by Bishop Arthur Henry Anstey for the education of Anglican girls.

In 1977 she entered The University of the West Indies, Faculty of Law, Cave Hill, Barbados graduating in 1980 with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons). She obtained her Legal Education Certificate from the Hugh Wooding Law School in 1982 and was admitted to the practice of law in Trinidad and Tobago later that year.

President Weekes joined the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as State Counsel I in November 1982. After eleven years representing the State in the Magistrates’, High and Appeal Courts she resigned as Senior State Counsel in 1993 and entered private practice. She established her own Chambers after a brief period in the Chambers of a distinguished Senior Counsel.

In 1996 she was invited to apply for the office of Puisne Judge in the Judiciary of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and was so appointed on September 1, 1996. She presided in the trial courts for nine years, almost exclusively in the criminal jurisdiction.

President Weekes was elevated to the Court of Appeal in January 2005 and presided in that court for eleven years. She retired from the Judiciary of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on August 31, 2016, after two decades of service.

Upon her retirement President Weekes was invited to join the Appellate Bench of the Judiciary of The Turks and Caicos Islands. On her assumption in September 2016 she became the first woman to serve in that capacity. Her last sitting was in November/December 2017 and she resigned in January 2018 ahead of her nomination for the Presidency.

President Weekes is a qualified judicial educator, having been made a Fellow of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute in 2000. Since that time, she has been deeply involved in training for various levels of judicial officer and has conceptualised, designed and facilitated a wide range of training programmes both locally and regionally.

Immediately after retirement from the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago President Weekes enjoyed a new incarnation as Executive Director of PMW Criminal Justice Consultancy and Training a small outfit providing services geared towards the development of the criminal justice sector. This venture is now in abeyance.

President Weekes was Course Director for Ethics Rights and Obligations of the Legal Profession at the Hugh Wooding Law School (2010-2016) and created the current course manual, supervised associate tutors, pioneered innovative pedagogical techniques and served as First Examiner during that period.

From 1997 until her election as President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago President Weekes was the Chancellor of the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago. She was a member of the Diocesan Council and provided legal services on ecclesiastical and other matters to three successive Bishops of the Diocese.

President Weekes received the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, which is the highest national award on 14th September 2018. She is a member of the Platform for Girls’ Education, which is a global body comprised of 12 influential people aimed at securing 12 years of quality education for girls across the world. The Platform, which is co-chaired by the British Foreign Secretary and the Kenyan Minister of Education, arose out of commitments to girls’ education made at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April 2018. The intention of the Platform is to build the capacity of developing countries to provide girls with quality education.

President Weekes is an avid cultivator of orchids and enjoys exploring foreign lands.

Biographical information provided by the Office of the President of Trinidad and Tobago in October 2018.