Bertrand Lemuel Joseph
Former Cabinet Minister, Antigua and Barbuda
BErtrand Joseph is an Antiguan and Barbudan politican and former parliamentarian and Cabinet Minister.
Early life and education
Bertrand Lemuel Joseph was born on the 29 September 1958 to Rose Joseph nee Nanton of Ebenezer and Alexander “Hudson” Joseph of Jennings. The former was a pupil-teacher turned housewife and the latter was a mason and subsistent farmer. Both were steeped in Seventh Day Adventism and were leading lights in the local congregation.
Bertrand grew up in very humble circumstances and was reared in a pastoral setting and a religious environment. From a very early age he was active in the church repeating his Bible verses and reciting poems. His parents used family worship, both in the morning and evening, to ensure the bible verses and poems were properly learned and well rehearsed. He eventually rose to positions of leadership in the church serving as elder, Sabbath schoolteacher, secretary and superintendent. His parents taught him the virtues of hard work by ensuring that livestock were cared for and that daily chores around the house and in the garden were done.
He started his primary education at the Cedar Hall School and later transferred to the Jennings School, which opened its doors in 1965. He was not allowed to take the Common Entrance Examination in Junior Five but was promoted to Senior One where he spent one term before moving on to Senior Two where he also spent one term. He then proceeded to Senior Three for the final term of that academic year. However, instead of taking the Post Primary Examination, he was allowed to take the Common Entrance Examination that he successfully negotiated.
During his sojourn at the Jennings Secondary School he served as class monitor and prefect and represented the school in the Top of the Form Radio/Television Programme. He also served as editor of the school’s newspaper the Emphatic Voice and also the Chronicle that superseded it. He never shrunk from an opportunity to represent his school.
After receiving passes in Mathematics, Geography, Biology, History, English Language and English Literature, he joined the staff of the Jennings Secondary School where he taught Mathematics and Geography before migrating to the United States of America. In 1981 he matriculated at the Marymount Manhattan College where he pursued studies in Government and Politics. He subsequently transferred to Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York from which he graduated in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.
In order to pay his way through college he worked as a Stock Clerk in the first instance and later as a Security Guard and also a Peer Tutor at the Writing Lab of Lehman College. The survival skills and work ethic that he learned in his formative years served him well after he ventured out to live on his own within four months of arriving in New York.
In 1986 he began working on a Masters degree in Social Studies Education at Herbert H. Lehman College. At the same time he entered into employment with the Board of Education of the City of New York at Theodore Roosevelt High School having obtained a certificate to teach Social Studies. The following year he returned to Antigua and was employed by the Christ the King High School as a Mathematics and Caribbean History teacher.
Between 1987 and 1989 he spearheaded the political campaign of his former Headmaster the Hon. Charlesworth Samuel in the constituency of St. Mary’s North and wrote several feature articles and guest editorials for the opposition party newspaper the Rappore.
In the summer of 1989 he returned to New York and commenced studies at Herbert H. Lehman College on a Masters degree in American History with a focus on diplomatic and intellectual history. He graduated from that programme in 1991 and entered a doctoral program in diplomatic and intellectual program at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York. During that period he worked for New York City Board of Education teaching Global Studies and Advanced Placement American History at Walton High School and later Global Studies at Herbert H. Lehman High School.
In 1992 he returned home to enter the political arena. Although not successful in the general elections of 1994 and 1999, he was nonetheless able to significantly increase the party’s standing. He was appointed Senator in 1994 and reappointed in 1999. He was elected as Assistant General Secretary of the United Progressive Party (UPP) in 1995 and served in that position until 2001. Thereafter, he was elected to the position of General Secretary, a position he currently holds. Additionally, he has been serving as a Board Member of the Seventh Day Adventist Credit Union since 2000.
In 2003 he was appointed the UPP spokesperson on education, and after his election to parliament on 23 March 2004 was appointed as Minister of Education, Human Development and Culture. In 2005 and 2007 respectively, the Ministry’s and by extension the Minister’s portfolio was amended to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Education, Sports & Youth Affairs respectively.
Joseph was unsuccessful in the 2009 election, losing to the ALP's Molwyn Joseph.
Honours and awards
In May 2008, the Joseph received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Lehman College at its annual Commencement Ceremony.
In 1994 he married Debbie Jeffers who is a nurse by profession and they are the proud parents of a daughter, Ariana.
|MP for St. Mary's North
||House of Representatives
||23 March 2004 - 12 March 2009
||1994 - 2004
|Minister of Education, Human Development and Culture
||26 March 2004 - 12 March 2009