Douglas, most recently the minister of state in the Ministry of the People and Social Development, is among several new cabinet appointments Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced Friday, June 22.
“I sought to get the most out of the best fit possible,” Persad-Bissessar said during a live televised address to the nation about the reconfigured government.
Persad-Bissessar likened the changes to “the most iconic symbol of change there could be, an oil drum, hammered out into the only musical instrument in the world developed in the last century: the steelpan.”
“Over the next few years Trinidad and Tobago will undergo a similar transformation borne out of the same ingenuity, creativity and innovativeness which our people have become so famous for. It is time to reclaim that self-belief,” she said.
“The leadership team assembled here is reposed with the greatest of responsibility,” she added. “Having reconfigured our Government, I expect now that we can continue, with greater impetus and determination to fulfill our promise to deliver our people and country to unprecedented development and progress.”
Douglas entered Parliament in 2010 as the elected member for Lopinot/Bon Air West, following the general election for the 10th Republican Parliament.
His NIU doctorate reflects a special emphasis in community development, cultural and political studies.
He also holds master of arts degrees in arts entertainment and media management from Columbia College in Chicago, bachelor of arts degrees in Christian education and mass communication from Wheaton College and an Advance Leadership Certificate from Haggai Institute in Singapore.
NIU enjoys a long and close relationship with the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, mainly through the School of Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
The NIU Steel Band, formed in 1973 as the first actively performing steelband formed in an American university, is led by Trinidad and Tobago natives Liam Teague and Cliff Alexis. His Excellency Dr. Neil Parsan, ambassador of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the United States, attended a November 2011 concert of the NIU Steel Band.
“It’s very exciting – and appropriate – that an NIU alumnus has been appointed as Trinidad and Tobago’s minister of arts and multiculturalism. With the founding of the first steel band at a university in the United States here at NIU, and the numerous Trinidadian natives who have earned their degrees at NIU, this is a perfect opportunity for us,” said Rich Holly, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
“Coupled with the strong relationships we’ve fostered with notable dignitaries of Trinidad and Tobago over the decades, Dr. Douglas’ appointment is sure to re-define and strengthen NIU’s relationship with Trinidad and Tobago.”