“My son was not a drug dealer.”
These were the words of Safiya Williams yesterday as she spoke out about the death of her nine-year-old son, Cyon Paul.
The Presbyterian Church has expressed joy in the appointment of Reverend Joy Evelyn Abdul-Mohan as an Independent Senator. Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, Reverend Brenda Bullock, says it is a wonderful opportunity for her as an individual, noting she has served the church with distinction for the past 25 years.
Abdul-Mohan, who was sworn in during Tuesday’s sitting of the Senate, is the second Presbyterian minister and first female to hold the office of Senator. The first Presbyterian minister to serve as a Senator was Reverend Daniel Teelucksingh (1992-2001). Rev Teelucksingh also extended his congratulations to his colleague.
“On the appointment of Rev Abdul-Mohan as an independent senator, the Presbyterian Chuch is honoured to provide yet another of its ministers to serve at the parliamentary level,” Teelucksingh told the T&T Guardian. He said: “The independent bench comprises only nine senators and the presence of women among them has always been a vital component. Today, serious social issues pertaining to women, children and family lives need urgent attention.
“Domestic violence and the abuse of women and children is endemic and Rev Abdul-Mohan is eminently qualified in the ongoing quest for solutions. In addition, she brings to the Senate a wealth of experience through her involvement in the prison ministry, in education and youth work.”
Following her swearing in on Tuesday, Rev Bullock said Rev Abdul-Mohan had called her office when she was offered the position to ask her opinion, pray about it and make a decision. The moderator said for the past 25 years, “Joy has worked hard, it wasn’t easy being the first female minister, blazing the trail for many of us to follow and she has done very well. “In spite of many challenges, which goes with being a minister, she has maintained her integrity and loyalty to the institution and that is truly remarkable.”
Bullock said Abdul-Mohan, who is a personal friend, “has worked hard in many areas within the church and in the wider community, such as the prison ministry and this has brought her into the national limelight.” “I think she will do credit to herself, in the Senate and to the church. For a long time we have not had a senator. Rev Daniel Teelucksingh was the first and last Presbyterian minister to represent the church in the Senate and at last. We will have a national voice.”
She added that the new senator is articulate, does her research and will raise the profile of the Church. “In recent years, some say, the church has been silent, but now we will have a voice through the Senator,” Bullock said.
Abdul-Mohan is a woman of many firsts. She broke the glass ceiling by becoming the first woman to be ordained in the Presbyterian Church. She was the first woman to become principal of the St Andrew’s Theological College. She was the first female clergy member to serve as the minister of the Susamachar Presbyterian Church, considered the mother of the church.
The 49-year-old, who is attached to the Oropouche Pastoral Region, which includes the Fyzabad Presbyterian Church, was chosen by President Anthony Carmona to replace former Senator Subhas Ramkhelewan who resigned last week. She is married to Darryl Joseph Mohan.