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At a function to honour students and community leaders on Saturday night, officials of the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation (PDRC) were criticised by Local Government Minister Marlene Coudray for failing to pay tribute to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for International Women’s Day.
In the feature address at the PDRC’s 11th annual Civic Reception and Awards Ceremony at Rampersad Brothers Ranch, San Francique, Coudray said Persad-Bissessar, who lives in the region, should have been acknowledged for the work she has done for women and children.
“I am happy to be in this Penal/Debe region that bred our first woman political leader and first woman prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar. I looked at the list of awardees and was extremely disappointed that we have just one woman.
“Penal Debe Regional Corporation missed the opportunity today, particularly of all days, International Women’s Day, to really acknowledge our first female prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, particularly for all that Kamla Persad-Bissessar, our honourable prime minister, has done for not only the people of this country, but particularly for the women of this country. Prime Minister, I salute you even though you are not able to be here.”
Coudray said as a female prime minister Persad-Bissessar has had to struggle more than any of her male counterparts. Ten men and one woman were awarded for community service and Coudray said many of the men had a woman at their side. She challenged the PDRC and NGOs in the region to establish a shelter for women and children in honour of Persad-Bissessar.
Coudray said during her tenure as Gender Youth and Child Development Minister, she had identified an area for the shelter and was willing to provide the details and speak with the current minister, Clifton De Coteau, to get the project started. The minister also praised the 53 students who were honoured for their achievements in last year’s Secondary Entrance Assessment and winning national scholarships.
“It is a tremendous achievement for these young people. Tremendous I say because of the rural neglect these communities face. Despite all of the floodings and challenges you faced, you were able to leave your homes and go to various schools as far as San Fernando and you were able to achieve and excel. I commend you greatly for this and encourage you to continue,” Coudray said