Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett was born on 16th September 1973 in Moruca Santa Rosa, an Indigenous village in Region One Barima-Waini area. Her early education was in the village, then in Georgetown.
Carolyn left Guyana for Saskatchewan, Canada, on scholarship, to pursue studies in Business Administration and Indian Studies. On her return to Guyana in 1993 she attended the University of Guyana to pursue a degree in Social Work, while juggling work duties as the Amerindian Project Program of the Social Impact Amelioration Program (SIMAP), a post she held for seven years.
In 2001 she was appointed Minister of Amerindian Affairs and reappointed in 2006. During her tenure Carolyn spearheaded the Amerindian Act in the National Assembly in October 2006. This act “provide for the recognition and protection of the collective rights of Amerindian Villages and Communities, the granting of land to Amerindian Villages and Communities and the promotion of good governance within Amerindian Villages and Communities.”
During her time a full fledged Ministry of Amerindian Affairs was established.
On April 10, 2008 she was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. This was a history making appointment. She became Guyana’s first indigenous minister with such responsibility and the first woman to hold the position. She was reappointed to the post in 2011.
As Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn led the Government’s effort in consolidating Guyana’s position with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) ensuring Guyana fulfills its legal obligation, among others, to the Community while at the same time cementing Guyana’s relationship with the Union of South American Nations (USASUR) by ratifying the UNASUR Constitutive Treaty and being the first country to ratify the Additional Protocol of Democracy.
When the PPP/C lost the 2015 Elections, Carolyn took up an overseas post. She was appointed Director of the Food and Agriculture Organisation Liaison Office with the United Nations in Geneva in August 2017, and in 2020 as Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. This is another history making appointment as the first woman.
Carolyn also serves as a Director on the Board of the Natural Resource Fund.
On 29th November, 2013 was presented with the Grand Cross of the Order of the General Liberator of San Martin by the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Argentina, Hector Timmerman. The Order of the Liberator San Martin is a distinction awarded by the Republic of Argentina exclusively “to foreign civilian and military officials in the exercise of their functions, highly deserve honor and recognition of the Nation”.
Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett is married and a mother of two.