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The Challenge Of Being Pm With Beauty And Brains
In the run-up to the UNC’s internal election for leadership of the party, Kamla Persad-Bissessar was subjected to unspeakable wrongs. Hints were made about her drinking habits and it would have been disastrous if a newspaper photographer had caught her with a glass in hand. We suggested that she drink water from a lotha, a Hindu religious brass water vessel to avoid being hounded by some news photographers.
At the funeral of former MP for Couva South and a former minister of government, defeated UNC leader and one time prime minister of T&T, Basdeo Panday directed a number of political barbs which we believe were aimed at the present leader of the UNC and Prime Minister of T&T, Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Panday lamented the fact that Kelvin Ramnath was not permitted to fight the Couva South seat under the UNC though he was a founding member.
What Panday failed to admit was that in a previous election he (Panday) rejected Kelvin Ramnath in preference to Attorney-at-Law Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj. As a female prime minister, Kamla is expected, not only to govern in the best interest of the country and all its inhabitants, but in the process of selling Trinidad and Tobago she must project a sunshine image. She always appeared well manicured with the latest hair styles, matching clothes and shoes and with a Trinidad smile. She was criticised for being too good and attractive.
The lady who looked after her every physical and soul need was her sister. She was vilified and virtually chased out of the prime minister’s official residence and had to seek rides in family’s personal vehicles. When Kamla went to India earlier this year at India’s expense, she was criticised for taking along her sister and other ministerial support. Many business deals were conducted on behalf of the State.
Although her trip to India was heavily criticised, not a sound of dissent is heard from the Opposition or the media now that the State is footing the entire bill for a 70-member Nigerian delegation headed by President Goodluck Jonathan. In a full-page Guardian ad, the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs announced “India Scholarships for Energy Staff”: “Five members of the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs are now participating in scholarships at the Solar Research Institute in Gurgaon, India.
The scholarships form part of the Indian Technical and Economic Co-operation Programme (ITEC), in which the Government of India sponsors all costs for applicants from all over the world to study at various prestigious institutions in India. “During the state visit of the Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar to India in January 2012, high-level meetings were held with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in India.
The team from Trinidad and Tobago expressed an interest in encouraging more bilateral co-operation in the field of renewable energy. A field in which India has a lot of experience and technical expertise and known to be a world leader, especially in solar energy. “Minister Ramnarine is especially keen for Trinidad and Tobago to recognise the need for building capacity in renewable energy and energy efficiency as a means to improving energy security.”
Earlier this year a team of Indian ‘coconut experts’ arrived in Trinidad to advise the Ministry of Food Production on diseases that are devastating the coconut industry. The Cedros peninsula became the focus as large plantations have disappeared because of disease. The Maha Sabha is informed that very soon over 40,000 coconut plants from south India will arrive in T&T to rehabilitate the entire Cedros peninsula.
This is another positive outcome of Kamla’s state visit to India. While in India, Kamla displayed the courtesy that is expected from a Trinidad female Prime Minister; she bowed to the feet of the elderly President of India. Both inside of T&T Parliament and outside, she was wrongly criticised by members of the PNM, although this is the practice in many countries in Asia and on the African continent.
Because she dared to build a multimillion-dollar house in Philippine, South Trinidad, she was wrongly criticised in Parliament by the defeated prime minister, Patrick Manning, who placed a highly exaggerated value of the cost of the premises. Today, she has sufficient rooms in her private residence to accommodate her sister and nephews and all members of her family. Manning returned from the US on the night of Wednesday August 1 to a rousing welcome.
He spent over six months receiving the best medical treatment at one of the best hospitals in the world. The cost of Mr Manning’s treatments was paid for by the State that is led by Kamla Persad-Bissessar who was wrongly accused and held to public ridicule.
The latest episode that has been published on the front page of Sunday’s Express dated July 29 is the personal vehicle she purchased at her own cost so that the official Opposition and mass media could find no blame. They now criticise her personal purchase.
• Satnarayan Maharaj, Secretary General Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha
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