(CMR) Deputy Premier and Minister of Education Hon. Juliana O'Connor-Connolly has announced that she will step away from politics in two years.
“It's been my privileged to be given for the second consecutive time the responsibility of education, and I told you before, and I will tell you again, God spares my life I intend to exit the political stage in two years' time,” she told people attending a political meeting Thursday.
“With God being my helper, I dare to believe that it is going to be left in a much better state so that when your children graduate, they won't just be offered promotions and offered mobility with a piece of paper, but that paper will be able to stand up anywhere in the world…and be able to demand a job anywhere in the world,” she added.
Now in her seventh consecutive term as a Member of Parliament, Mrs. O'Connor-Connolly is the longest-serving female member and the first woman to become Deputy Premier and Premier of the Cayman Islands.
Also, Minister for District Administration & Lands, O'Connor-Connolly, was elected to the Legislative Assembly (now Parliament) for the first time in November 1996 to represent the District of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. In doing so, she became the first lady to represent that district in the Legislative Assembly.
In 1997, Mrs. O'Connor-Connolly became Cayman's first female Minister and served until 2000 as the Minister of Community Affairs, Sports, Women, Youth and Culture.
She was an opposition backbencher for a short period before becoming the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in 2001, making her the first female member of the Legislative Assembly to do so.
From 2005 to 2009, Mrs. O'Connor-Connolly served as a formidable member of the opposition.
Before her second period of service as Speaker, she was a member of Cabinet for four years from 2009 to 2013, first as Minister of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture and then with the responsibility of Minister of Finance added to that portfolio.
She was later Speaker of the House for another extended period from 2013 to 2017 and served as Minister for Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands from 2017 to early 2021.
She has served on numerous Parliamentary and Government Boards & Committees. Notable among those are the three years she served as an Executive Member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
Before entering politics, Mrs. O'Connor-Connolly enjoyed a successful career as a Teacher, Accounts Assistant, and Attorney at Law, having graduated from the University of Saint Leo with the highest cumulative GPA and later the Cayman Islands Law School/the University of Liverpool, where she completed her Bachelor of Laws.
She has served faithfully as a member of the Church of God (Holiness) for over 45 years and currently assists with preaching at the Cayman Islands Church of God. A proud Cayman Bracker and mother of two, her interests include reading, cooking, farming, meeting people, and learning new cultures.