If Bermuda’s Deputy Premier and Minster of Home Affairs asks you to be on his quiz team, say “yes.” As a child, his parents gave him the “big volume series” of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and that was his favourite thing to read. “That just built up an appreciation for facts and I always wanted to understand why things were,” he says.

This helped instil Walter Roban’s lifelong love of civics, social studies and history which took him all the way through school to Morehouse College in Atlanta. Morehouse, he explains, “is a very interesting institution in that it focuses on the development of black male leadership. One thing that is imposed on us is that serving your people in the community is a part of what you’re being developed to do.”

Roban, now 57, was studying in Atlanta during the time of the 1988 Democratic National Convention when Jesse Jackson was campaigning to become US president. This had a huge impact on the future minister. “He was electrifying the US, particularly the African American community,” he says. It was also here that he met the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) leadership of the time, including Dame Lois Browne-Evans, L. Frederick Wade and David Allen, and these meetings motivated Roban to return home and attend to the politics of his own country.

Since then, he has taken on a variety of leadership roles and responsibilities within the PLP during his extensive political career. One thing that stands out, however, is his love for the natural world and the work he has done to protect and enhance Bermuda’s land and ocean for future generations. “It is difficult to grow up in Bermuda and not have some appreciation of the environment,” he says. Some of his earliest work in this field was his involvement in the 2011 Energy White Paper which, he says, “gave the primary ingredients to much of what we’re doing now when it comes to renewable energy,” and he adds, “I would love to see Bermuda 100 percent renewable by 2050.”

Roban is very aware, however, that for many homes the investment in solar panels is “not in reach,” and he is therefore committed to “finding ways that can affordably allow every resident in Bermuda to benefit from renewable energy.” He has also made “conservation of our land and open spaces a top priority” and is proud of his part in legislation to protect Bermuda’s open spaces and biodiversity, and to protect and enhance our native and endemic plant, land and ocean species. “I want to ensure that Bermuda continues to be a great steward of the environment and see this as important as our economic development.”
“They should both be a top priority,” he emphasises.

See all of our Bermudians of the Year here