Affectionately known as “Pauline” as she grew up in Liberta, Dr. Cleon Athill first attended the Liberta Primary and then the All Saints Secondary Schools. As a child and young adult she was active in the St. Paul’s community under the aegis of the Anglican Young People’s Association.
Apart from a brief stint as a travel agent while studying at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Dr. Athill has been a public servant all her working life.
She began her career as a teacher at the All Saints Secondary School and then was transferred to the Princess Margaret School (PMS), where she distinguished herself and earned lifelong admirers. At PMS, Miss Athill – as she was then known – was able to impact the lives of both students and parents through the School Guidance Counselling Program piloted by the Ministry of Education.
From there, she took on the challenge of heading the country’s youth development programme as the Director of Youth Affairs. Her ground-breaking work in this area was abruptly cut short after the change of administration in 2014, and youth affairs have not been a national priority since. Nonetheless, this has not prevented Dr. Athill from continuing to advocate for young people.
She is also a proponent of public-sector reform, advocating for its improvement, professional status and protection from political manipulation.
As a change advocate, Dr. Athill has a wealth of experience on which she can draw. She has led and participated in many local, regional and international programs on various aspects of youth development, and is an avid volunteer, community-development activist, and trainer. Many youth, church, and gender groups across the country have benefitted from her expertise.
For many years she has also lectured in the Undergraduate Department of the University of the West Indies, drawing upon a strong education background in psychology and social psychology.
Athill earned a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Walden University in 2019, building on her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Vermont College, Norwich University, and a B.Sc. in General Psychology from Howard University.
But she is not only an academic or psychologist. Over the years, she developed a keen interest in politics and governance and noted the shortcomings of the political system, as a whole, and those of our governance structure and culture.
Unfortunately, these weaknesses have been exploited by some political leaders to the detriment of the people, and she sees St. Paul as yet another victim of neglect or underdevelopment, with too many poor roads, dingy alleys, and areas of dereliction, even among the new and modern homes.
She sees some residents doing well; but they are outnumbered by those who struggle to eke out a living daily, with many falling by the way or at the poverty line.
These are the issues she will work to address, and she believes in the United Progressive Party’s transformative power to correct them.
Coupled with the Party leadership’s dedication, people-centred philosophy and integrity, Dr. Athill believes that her passion, her commitment to change, and her ability to connect with and mobilize the community will bring home the St. Paul seat for the UPP.