November 20, 1965 – Jacqui Clarissa Quinn was born at home in New Winthorpes to Joseph Quinn and Mary Geo Quinn nee Hampson.
Jacqui’s early years were spent between Barbuda and Antigua, thus her primary schooling included the Holy Trinity School, Golden Grove Primary and Five Islands Primary School. Her secondary school life began at the Ottos Comprehensive and was completed at the Antigua Girls’ High School.
Jacqui began her post-secondary education at the Advanced Level Department of the Antigua State College before working in media at the nation’s sole television station ABS as a news reporter and news anchor form 1986 before pursuing studies in Mass Communications at the University of the West Indies (the UWI – Mona Campus). She earned First Class Honours Bachelor of the Arts Degree and was the valedictorian of her year. She also distinguished herself as an orator leading the University’s team to victory in an international debating competition.
Her academic pursuits continued as she read for a master’s degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from the Cambridge University, United Kingdom and a Doctor of Philosophy in Communication from McGill University, Canada.
Upon return to Antigua & Barbuda Dr. Quinn resumed her employment at ABS Television, eventually serving as head of news and current affairs. Among the notable program hosted Jacqui was the series ‘One on One’ a current affairs program about outstanding national contributors at that time. The features represent our first video library documenting the lives and history of community icons.
She transitioned into the private sector in1997 and served as the Human Resource and Marketing Officer at the Antigua & Barbuda Investment Bank (ABIA), then Communications Consultant at the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation. She also served as the Corporate Communications Consultant for the Antigua Commercial Bank and then Hadeed Corporate Group.
On March 23, 2004, Dr Quinn became the first woman to be elected to the Lower House of Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda. She was a among the twelve (12) successful candidates of the United Progressive Party who ended the twenty-eight years consecutive years of governance by the Antigua Labour Party. She secured 63.67% of the votes in the St. George Constituency. Honourable Dr Quinn-Leandro retained her seat in the election of March 12, 2009, with a reduced margin, securing 57.24% of the vote. By 2014 her popularity within the constituency of St. George had waned. She was one of the UPP’s casualties in the election of June 12, 2014, falling to 44.09% of the votes cast and being swept out of government with her party. She was appointed one of four opposition senators, serving from June 24, 2014 to February 26, 2018.
During her political party’s tenure in Government, Jacqui held several portfolios while serving in the Baldwin Spencer Administration. She first served as Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Information and Public Service (March 26, 2004 – Jan 4, 2005), then Minster of Public Administration, Labour and Empowerment (June 5, 2005 to March 15, 2009) and as Minister of Education, Sports, Youth and Gender Affairs from March 16, 2009 to June 12, 2014). In 2005 she acted as Prime Minister for a brief stint, the first woman so to do.
During her services as a Minister of Government Dr Quinn served on several regional and international committees to include President of the Inter-American Commission of Women (2006 – 2008) the Executive Committee of the Inter-American Committee on Education (2012 -2014). During her tenure as Minister of Education universal secondary education was institutionalized in Antigua and Barbuda.
Jacqui was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. Her successful treatment included surgery and an extended period of chemotherapy.
She is currently as Adjunct Lecturer at The UWI Open Campus lecturing in the Essentials of Public Speaking and Presentation and Lecturer at The UWI Five Island Campus and Managing Director of JAYD Ideas and Communications. She recently returned to media as the host of Observer Radio’s Morning Show.