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Although 857 people were invited by the Powerful Ladies of Trinidad and Tobago (PLOTT) to attend The Silent Gathering held by the organisation at midnight on Saturday, at the Queen’s Park Savannah, 22 women and one man showed up to light candles and experience an hour of stillness “to acknowledge the loss of a giant [Dana Seetahal] and the need for an increased respect for life across T&T.” “It’s a start,” said Gillian Wall, chairperson and co-founder of PLOTT, who explained that numbers were not the priority.
“We chose the time,” she said, “because it isn’t easy.” Wall explained that the choice of midnight was significant for many reasons but chief among them is that is a way to communicate that “change requires something of us,” namely the need for sacrifice. Saturday at midnight was also significant because it was the one week anniversary of the assassination of state attorney Seetahal and the beginning of the first hour of Mother’s Day.
“It is a dark hour,” said Wall, speaking also of recent and ongoing events in T&T, “we wanted to bring hope to it.”
PLOTT is a network of female executives, founded in November 2011 by Wall, who is the group CEO of International Business Brokers Limited (IBB) and Catherine Kumar, CEO of the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The organisation’s mission, according to its website, is to assist members in dealing with the unique challenges faced by female executives and to make a valuable contribution to female related social development causes and projects.
For PLOTT, which intends to meet indefinitely at the Savannah every Saturday at midnight, the murder of Dana Seetahal showed a blatant disrespect for life. As a group of Seetahal’s peers, they not only wanted to show respect for the loss of life but also to acknowledge the depth of what it means to lose Seetahal. “We have lost a giant,” said Wall, “we thought, let us go still and connect with the giant within ourselves.”
Wall said it is hoped The Silent Gathering will enable participants to connect with something inside themselves, overcome their fears and realise they have to “be the change.” “We have to stop pointing the finger at someone else all the time,” she said, “ … we complain about everything but don’t do anything.
“We understand and respect that people are fearful, there is a growing sense of hopelessness, we have lost faith in ourselves and our ability to make a difference,” she said, “[but] we must liberate ourselves from our fears, begin to address the fears that stop us from addressing the real problems.” PLOTT hopes that even if people cannot make it to the Savannah at midnight every Saturday, they will begin to get involved by lighting a candle at home and participating in the hour of silence from there.
“Set your alarm,” she said, “it is time for us to wake up.” She also encouraged other groups to join PLOTT in solidarity at convenient meeting points across the country. Further information on the organization and how to get involved in The Silent Gathering can be found on the PLOTT Facebook page and on their website at www.plottonline.org