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Ronald Suresh Roberts (Class of 1984 Form 5) was born in Trinidad and Tobago on the 17th February, 1968. He attended UWI Primary school, and then Fatima College, and was in fact a member of the Trinidad national swim team. He received a national island scholarship in 1986 and is a graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, and Harvard Law School where he did his Masters. In fact at Harvard Law School he was a schoolmate of current U.S. President, Barack Obama. Shortly after his graduation from Harvard, he joined the prestigious Wall Street law firm of Winthrop, Stimson, Putman & Roberts (no relation).
In addition, in 1994 Winthrop Stimson funded Ronald on a Fellowship enabling him to coordinate an election monitoring delegation of 85 lawyers from 13 countries who arrived in South Africa to monitor the country’s first democratic election, from which Nelson Mandela emerged as President. Ronald then decided to remain in South Africa to contribute to the emerging legal (including constitutional) reform processes. He began advising the South African government on privatisation, antitrust and other legal reforms. A Report on Privatisation published by him in 1995 assessed the strengths and weaknesses of various sorts of public-private partnerships and gave pointers towards the design of such partnerships for the maximization of public benefit. This Report had a defining impact on the democratic South Africa’s subsequent policy path concerning public-private Partnerships.
His first book, Clarence Thomas and the Tough Love Crowd: Counterfeit Heroes & Unhappy Truths is described as a devastating critique of public neo-conservative figures, including V.S. Naipaul. Interestingly enough, the book evolved from his Master’s Thesis at Harvard, entitled the Wrongheadedness of Truth
Ronald then co-authored (with Kader Asmal and Louise Asmal) Reconcilation Through Truth: A Reckoning of Apartheid’s Criminal Governance. The foreword was done by none other than Mr. Nelson Mandela, himself.
By the end of the decade his work as policy advisor in the revision of South Africa’s National Water Act and its Water Services Act was globally recognized when Kader Asmal, the Water Affairs Minister to whom Ronald served as policy and strategy advisor during the relevant reforms of 1996 through 1999, was honoured by the award of the Stockholm Water Prize, received at the hand of the King of Sweden and after a banquet in at the Stockholm Castle (which Ronald attended), the venue where the Nobel Prize is annually dispensed.
At present, Ronald still resides in Cape Town, South Africa. He has since written his third book, a biography/literary critique of South Africa’s Nobel Laureate, Nadine Gordimer. To this end, he was selected earlier in 2003 to be part of the exclusive Residency Program of the Lannan Foundation, Marfa, Texas.
Ronald in June 2007 launched his fourth book, Fit to Govern, an authorized biography of Mr. Thabo Mbeki, the President of South Africa.
Roberts is now engaged in more commercially related activities as he is a shareholder and executive member of a consultant company that assists multi-national stakeholders resolve the data gap that large investors, property developers, retailers, brands and developmental agencies of all kinds experience in growth markets (throughout Africa), where the locations and lifestyles (earning and spending patterns) of people are insufficiently understood and scarcely quantifiable.