Kerry-Ann Fenelle Ifill, SCM
Former President of the Senate, Barbados
Kerry-Ann Fenelle Ifill is a Barbadian politician and a former President of the Barbados Senate. As a pioneer in her own right, Senator Ifill's life story is truly one of triumph over adversity.
Early life and education
Kerry-Ann Fenelle Ifill born in December 20, 1973 is the only
daughter of Joyce Ifill and the Late Terrence King. She began losing her sight at the age of four and half. After spending six months in the United States for operations, Ifill returned to Barbados. At the age of six, she attended the School for the Blind and Deaf, now called the Irving Wilson School. She first came to public attention at the age of 6 in the International Year of the
Disabled’s stamp issue, she graced the 10¢ stamp.
Living with a disability - blindness, Kerry-Ann determination and strength was evident from as young as age 14; when she was given the opportunity of attending one the mainstream secondary school's; Combermere. Here she learnt to deal with her physical challenges and with much dedication and effort she has paved the way to her success. Moving on from Combermere, Senator Ifill, attended the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus graduating with Upper Second Class Honours in 1999 with a degree in Sociology and Psychology. Her academic pursuits saw her enrolling in
the Masters of Business Administration programme of the Durham Business School in
2003 completing her studies in 2006.
Professionally, Ifill has worked with the Women in Development Programme, Parent
Education for Development in Barbados and also spent 10 years on the staff of the
Barbados Council for the Disabled (BCD) – the non-governmental umbrella body for several organizations related to persons with disabilities. At BCD, she engaged in
research and project coordination with duties spanning media relations, website
management and provided support for administrative projects. She also undertook
part-time work as a tutor with the online programme of the University of the West
Indies, Open Campus.
In 2010, she left the Council to undertake a consultancy with the National Disabilities
Unit facilitating the Technology Services for the Blind and Visually impaired
programme. The programme provides instruction for persons
In 2008, Barbadian Prime Minister David Thompson appointed her to the Senate, then to the position of deputy President of the Senate. In March 2012, with the resignation of Sir Branford Taitt, Ifill was appointed President of the Senate. She was the first woman to hold that position, the first person with a disability, and youngest ever holder of the position, at the age of 38. She demitted office on 5 March 2018 following the dissolution of Parliament.
Among her other duties, Ms. Ifill has travelled extensively participating in a series of
regional and international conferences; most notably as part of the World Conference
on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai Japan. She participated in the Inaugural
Parliamentarians with Disabilities conference in Halifax Nova Scotia and served as
moderator on one of the panel discussions. She also participated in several regional
and panel discussions most significantly at a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
meeting of global presiding officers and several panels at the United nations
Conference of States Parties on the CRPD. In addition she serves on several
committees. She is currently a director of the Barbados Council for the Disabled after
serving her allotted two terms as president. She is the current Chairperson of the
CARICOM Advisory Panel on Disabilities, President of the National United Society
of the Blind and President of the Caribbean Council for the Blind. She is also the
focal person on the Treaty of Marrakesh in the English Speaking Caribbean. She is
also the Alternate Synod representative and Sunday School Superintendent of the
Anglican Church of the Resurrection. Ms. Ifill, in her capacity as President of the
Senate, has worked assiduously to firmly establish the Barbados National Youth
On the social aspect of Senator Ifill's life, she engages in both recreational and service activities some of which range from cricket to ballroom dancing and with much courage and support from friends, family and love ones she continues to be a trailblazer in all her endeavours. An Anglican all of her life, she is the Sunday School Superintendent at the Church of the Resurrection. She believes that "there is no impediment greater than that which is within you!"
Honours and awards
In 2018, the accolate of Silver Crown of Merit (SCM) was conferred on Ifill in recognition of her advocacy for the rights of the persons with disabilities and her contribution to civil