Penal resident Seema Moonilal, 22, has captured this year’s Divali Queen competition.
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PNM leadership contender- Judge me not on gender—Penny
PNM leadership contender Pennelope Beckles-Robinson is not buying the argument that if one woman, such as the Prime Minister, is perceived to have failed all women also will fail at the job. “I find (that) amazing,” Beckles-Robinson said yesterday of such criticism against her.
She asked: “If you are married and it fails, does it mean all marriages will fail? How is it when a man fails in a position, they don’t say all men also will fail? In the media you have women doing very well. If one woman writes a bad story, does it mean all women will write a bad story? “I‘m a leader who happens to be a woman. The Honourable Kamla Persad- Bissessar is Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Pennelope Beckles-Robinson is Pennelope Beckles-Robinson.
“I will like to think people vote on issues not on gender. As much as I have advocated women’s advancement I believe people vote for what you offer them and because you are bringing something different.” She was speaking at a news conference at PNM’s Balisier House headquarters, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. She said when people voted for Persad-Bissessar it was the first time a women offered herself but she did not believe that was the reason the PP won the election.
Beckles-Robinson said the PNM has had women at all levels, including being the party’s backbone and responsible for winning its elections but never as its leader. But, she added, she was not seeking to be elected simply because she was a woman. Dismissing perceived “quietness”, Beckles-Robinson said: “The fact you have a different tone and style does not mean you cannot be aggressive. Quietness does not mean you cannot be firm. Some of the most productive people cannot even speak.”
On fears she could not pull punches with the Government, she noted she had been in criminal courts for 26 years and studied under Theodore Guerra, SC, (now deceased). Rejecting rumours of an ILP interest, she said: “This is an election and stakes are high so I expect all sorts of things but when I was rejected for PNM candidacy I remained with PNM. “One does not have a God-given right to a seat or ministry. I have worked hard for every post I have obtained.”