Senator Diana Mahabir-Wyatt
Ms. Diana Mahabir-Wyatt served as an Independent Senator during the 4th and 5th Republican Parliaments. In 1991 Mrs. Mahabir Wyatt was formally appointed an Independent Senator by the President of the Republic in the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago and served continuously in that position until she left the Senate in 2000.
Diana Mahabir Wyatt graduated from Mc Gill University, Quebec, Canada in 1963 majoring in Literature and Philosophy with Economics and Psychology minors. From 1963-1966 she taught a survey course in communications skills at the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies. In 2001 she got her M.Sc (Edu) from USC, specializing in online education and adult learning.
During the early 60’s while teaching at the university, she worked as a volunteer at a home for children who had been born with various brain dysfunctions in Cocorite. These children were discriminated against in the culture and generally left institutionalized.
In 1966, Diana joined the Employers' Consultative Association of Trinidad and Tobago responsible for setting up supervisory and management training programmes and for handling general administration. In 1969, she was appointed Director of the Association. She served as Chief Executive Officer of the Employers' Consultative Association and the Caribbean Employers' Confederation simultaneously for almost 15 years, in which capacity she gave assistance to employers' federations throughout the Caribbean in management training, industrial relations, labour legislation and human resource development.
During this period she chaired the Employers’ Sub–Committee at the annual Convention of the International Labour Organisation’s Committee on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations for most of a decade.
During this period (1970) she became a founding Board Member of the Servol Organisation in Trinidad & Tobago, and actively participated in some of its programs. She remains a member of the Servol Board of Directors. Servol is an indigenous Community Development NGO which works with disadvantaged communities and particularly with children from these communities to give them a chance in life. Servol was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize for Social Work in 1994. In 1986 she established a Home for Battered Women and Children called the Shelter and continued to run it until handing it over to a new Board of Directors in 1992. In 1988 she founded the Trinidad & Tobago Coalition Against Domestic Violence which is a Coalition of some 45 member organisations working in the area of domestic and social violence and child abuse. In 2000 she founded and still chairs P.L.U.S. (Peace, Love and Understanding in Schools) an NGO that works in schools throughout the country to help teachers deal with their own anger and thence with the anger and violence of their students. In 2001 she also founded an organisation called Stop Elderly Abuse Now which deals with institutional and individual abuse of the elderly. In the same year she established and still chairs Childline (T&T) a hotline for Children at Risk and in difficult situations. This organisation is a member of Children’s Helpline International. In addition to these activities, in 2006 she became the Executive Director of the Caribbean Center for Human Rights, an organisation which includes a Victim Support Program, which visits and supports the families of homicide victims in T&T, a Human Rights education program that has published books and pamphlets on Human Rights, encourages a Junior CCHR program in secondary schools and does presentations in schools on the subject, and an Internship program that introduces graduating law students from Universities in T&T, the UK and the USA to human rights issues in the law courts in T&T.
A strong advocate of women’s rights, Diana has been a member of various national and regional organisations that advocate women’s rights including CAFRA, the Network, and the National Organisation of Women. In 1999 she joined the Trinidad & Tobago Coalition on the Rights of the Child and remains an executive member of that organisation, and the Caribbean and Latin American Rights of the Child Association, having spent a five-week fellowship in Sweden studying the U N Convention of The Rights of the Child courtesy of the Swedish government and Raada Baarnen.
As a weekly columnist in the local press for ten years she campaigned for the rights and the provisions of social services and protection for women and children at a national level.
Ms. Mahabir Wyatt served as a founding member of the National Training Board of Trinidad and Tobago, of the Registration, Recognition and Certification Board and of the National Insurance Board of Trinidad & Tobago. She served on various other national committees and commissions including the Workman's Compensation/Employment Injury Committee, Severance Pay Legislation Committee, Freedom of Association Committee, National Flexi-Time
Committee, National Productivity Council, the National Training Board, the Self Help Commission, and the Family Court Committee, among others. She was appointed Chair of the Civic Council of Social Equity for the Alleviation of Poverty by Cabinet in 2000.
She is at present a Principal Consultant and Director in the consultancy firm of PMSL Limited and is also the Executive Director of the Caribbean Center for Human Rights, founded in 2006. Since becoming a founding Partner of PMSL, Diana’s portfolio has included the development of performance management systems, managing the human resource aspects of organisational change, assessing training needs and developing training programmes appropriate to the culture of individual companies, and industrial sectors, executive “head hunting”, psychometric testing, executive level mediation and internal company investigations, dispute handling and providing advice, individual coaching and training in industrial relations, team-work and leadership development matters. She works in countries ranging from the Bahamas throughout the Caribbean to Guyana.
She participates regularly in Caribbean Conferences dealing with civic rights in the region and in that capacity was asked by the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2005 to be an observer for the Presidential elections in Sri Lanka.