By Admin. Updated 12:55 a.m., Thursday, March 4, 2021, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
She is a bold and articulate individual who was recently appointed a senator and the Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Keisal M. Peters is trained in Law and is now playing a key role in shaping the country’s foreign policy.
But, in addition to her technocratic side is a colorful side laced with a love for fashion, poetry, music, blogging, and entrepreneurship.
Apart from her daily senatorial and ministerial duties as the lone female minister of government at present, Peters told One News SVG and Ignite! Consulting that she can balance work with entrepreneurship.
She also shared how her journey so far has been a mark of female empowerment.
Minister Peters is the second of seven (7) women entrepreneurs being featured this year under the #SelfMadeSVG initiative for International Women’s Day 2021, spearheaded by Ignite! in association with One News SVG and Specs Visuals.
One News SVG and Ignite! had 17 questions for minister Peters. These are her responses:
KEISAL THE SENATOR
1. Was it ever a goal of yours to be a senator?
I have always had political aspirations. For me, becoming a parliamentarian was not a matter of “if” but a matter of “when” and the time is now.
2. What does this achievement mean to you?
For me, this achievement means that the years of acquiring my education in SVG, furthering my studies abroad, enhancing my social skills and executing my professional duties over the last 10 years, was not in vain. It means that meritocracy still exists.
3. How does this position help you to serve the interest of the female population?
In my capacity as Minister of State with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, it must always be borne in mind that I will represent the entire Vincentian population, both male and female. However, as the sole female Minister of Government, naturally, members of the public will expect me to address many of the issues faced by women in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Prior to and even more so since my appointment, I have noted a number of issues affecting women and I have been considering projects which will complement the mechanisms which are already in place to assist the women of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
4. What do you think is the single biggest challenge being faced by females in SVG?
In my view the biggest challenge being faced by many females in SVG is abuse; be it physical, sexual, psychological, emotional and financial. Doubtless, the economic impact of the covid-19 pandemic is likely to increase the occurrence of financial abuse as well. This is an issue that plagues many countries around the world and SVG is no exception. Ever so often, as a society, we will be required to re-evaluate our response and the mechanisms which were put in place to deal with this issue.
5. What do you think is the biggest opportunity available to females in SVG?
In my view, the biggest opportunity available to females in SVG is receiving a solid education at all levels. Education is often taken for granted by many students in SVG but there are countries where students, particularly girls are not afforded the opportunity to be educated at all. Throughout this interview you will notice that I mention education quite frequently but there is a reason. The benefits of having a solid education have been tried and tested! So I encourage all students to take your education seriously.
KEISAL THE ENTREPRENEUR
6. When did you get into entrepreneurship?
I launched my business “Baggage” in May 2019 after conducting research for over a year.
7. What led you into it?
In my humble view, a handbag is the most important and functional accessory utilized by many women on a daily basis in the professional and social setting. In creating my business, I wanted to provide customers with a variety of handbags for every occasion.
8. Describe your products and services
Baggage is an online retail store specializing in a wide range of bags, purses and other related accessories. Baggage offers very unique pieces at very affordable prices. With each piece our customers are sure to make a statement whenever they make their entrance! We therefore encourage you to visit our social media pages @baggage.co to claim your baggage, own your baggage and carry your baggage fashionably!
9. How do you think your business is transforming the look or style of the modern woman?
Traditionally, the term ‘baggage’ has had negative connotations associated with having a burdensome past. However, my business “Baggage” has revolutionized the meaning and now everybody wants to carry their “Baggage”.
Based on the reviews of my customers who I affectionately referred to as “Baggage Handlers” Baggage has reignited the passion for handbags and women are now more confident and adventurous in accessorizing their outfits.
10. How would you describe your sense of style?
The people who know me would know that I love fashion! My friends and family tell me that I am “extra” and I have embraced it and made it mine; after all the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little bit of extra!
My sense of style and fashion depends on where I am going on any given day and it also depends on my mood. Regardless to where I am going, it is imperative that I ALWAYS look fabulous.
I love to wear couture and I can proudly say that ALL of my couture pieces thus far have been created by Vincentian designers.
11. What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are singing, reading, writing poetry or songs, composing music and creating video blogs.
12. How do you balance entrepreneurship, the family life, your hobbies and your career?
I balance entrepreneurship, the family life, hobbies and my career by acknowledging that there is a time and place for everything and over the years I have endeavored to practice proper time management.
13. Having been trained in Law, what personal challenges have you encountered during your tenure in the legal profession?
Traditionally, Law was referred to as a ‘jealous mistress’ due to the fact that the legal profession is a demanding one which was once dominated by men. However, given the very obvious shift towards female dominance, in SVG at least, the law can also be referred to as a ‘jealous mister’ or as I call it, ‘Mr. Law’.
In a profession where oftentimes, you literally hold your clients’ future in your hands and you are constantly reading and researching late at night into early mornings, you sometimes fail to notice your body’s warning signs which will eventually take a toll on your health, thereafter requiring you to seek medical attention.
I have experienced that and so have some of my colleagues.
14. How did you adjust?
I adjusted by scheduling more personal time for myself in order to relax and unwind for example a beach day or a spa day etc.
15. What is your message to females, especially young females climbing the ladder of success?
My message to females is stay focused on acquiring your education and/or skills. Please. I beg! It has been said a million times in different ways but it bears repeating, education is the key. Once you acquire your education you will be able to unlock many possibilities. Don’t be distracted by unnecessary things or people. Surround yourself with good people, people who want to see you achieve your goals. Believe in yourself and be confident enough to get where you want to be in life.
16. The International Women’s Day Campaign theme is #ChoosetoChallenge while the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) has its Women’s day theme : ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World’. According to the IWDA, particularly at this time, women’s voices and experiences are key to national and global recovery plans. How do you think we can actively get more women into leadership roles and decision making positions?
As a society we have to first acknowledge that women are more than capable of effective leadership and to some extent we have done that. One of the ways in which we can actively get more women in leadership roles is to encourage our young girls and women to become members of organisations on a community level as well as a national level. Membership in organisations such as the Girl Guides Association, Pathfinders, Toastmasters, Cadet Force, Red Cross and many others, will foster and eventually enhance their interest in leadership and will no doubt have a positive impact on their holistic development as individuals.
17. Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day in a big way in SVG?
It is important to celebrate International Women’s Day in SVG in a big way because it is a when we reflect on the strides women have made over the years whilst contributing to the development of our homeland, it is truly phenomenal. Vincentian women have been excelling in many professions and have totally dominated others and we continue to defy the odds despite the fact that we are nationals of a small developing state. We are the dreams of our grandmothers, great grandmothers and great-great grandmothers who did not have the many opportunities that we now have and such achievements are worth celebrating.