Pennelope Beckles

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Pennelope Althea Beckles-Robinson (born 12 September 1961) is a Trinidad and Tobago attorney and politician who has been the country's Permanent Representative to the United Nations since August 2016.

Early life and education[edit]

Beckles was born on 12 September 1961 in Borde Narve Village, growing up without electricity or running water.[1][2] Her father, Lionel Beckles, worked for the Oilfield Workers' Trade Union and she has four brothers and one sister.[3] She attended St Raphael's Grade School and St Joseph's Convent, San Fernando.[4] She graduated from the University of the West Indies, Barbados and Hugh Wooding Law School.[1][4]


Beckles has practised as an attorney since 1988,[1] attached to the Chambers of Theodore R Guerra and Associates.[4]

Beckles was appointed an opposition Senator for the People's National Movement (PNM) in 1995. She was then elected to the House of Representatives representing the Arima constituency in 2000, serving until 2010.[4] She was appointed Minister for Social Development in 2001, Minister for Culture and Tourism in 2002, and Minister for Public Utilities and the Environment in 2003.[1]

Beckles was Trinidad and Tobago's first female Deputy Speaker of the Parliament from 2007 until 2010 and served as Leader of Opposition Business from 2010 until 2013.[1][4] In November 2012, she was elected lady vice-chair of the PNM,[2] but she was dropped from the senate by party leader Keith Rowley in December 2013.[5][6] In May 2014, she unsuccessfully challenged Rowley for the leadership of the party.[7][8] On February 4, 2015, she was rejected in her bid to represent the PNM for the constituency of Arima in the 2015 general election.[9]

Beckles was appointed Trinidad and Tobago's Permanent Representative to the UN by Prime Minister Rowley in August 2016.[1][10][11] She had postponed taking up the appointment in order to attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Patrick Manning in July.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Beckles married to Noel Robinson in December 2008[13] and has four stepchildren.[1] She also became guardian of her ten-year-old niece after her sister Michelle died in 2015.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "New Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago Presents Credentials". United Nations. 22 August 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b Rambally, Rhonda Krystal (4 November 2012). "She's of good political stock". Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Penny's dad in her corner". Trinidad and Tobago Guardina. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Ms. Pennelope Beckles, MP". Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
  5. ^ Ragoonath, Reshma (9 December 2013). "Beckles insists she remains loyal to PNM". Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  6. ^ Lord, Richard (4 December 2013). "Strategic Move: Rowley eyes 2015 after shake-up". Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  7. ^ Fraser, Mark (22 March 2014). "Penny's Relative Held in Gun Raid". Saturday Express. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  8. ^ "The PNM election race is on". Saturday Express. 14 March 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Penny: Difficult time with Family Issues". Trinidad Express. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  10. ^ Sorias, Leah (11 February 2016). "Rowley picks Pennelope as UN Ambassador". Trinidad Express. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  11. ^ Taitt, Ria (3 April 2016). "PNM makes changes to its constitution". Saturday Express. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  12. ^ Kong Soo, Charles (3 July 2016). "Penny postpones UN appointment following Manning's death". Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  13. ^ "A wedding story". Saturday Express. 24 December 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2017.