There are six women contesting the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election on January 21, the largest number ever, and it is hoped there will be a greater female presence in the THA in the coming years.The expectation is coming from Hazel Brown, head of the Network of NGOs of T&T for the Advancement of Women.
Brown made the comment at Kariwak Village Hotel in Tobago on Thursday as she made financial presentations to each of the candidates."We got some funding from the United Nations Women organisation in Barbados for women in leadership," she said.Brown said along with the financial contributions, which are to assist the women in their campaigns, the Network of NGOs has also been training women in Tobago for leadership since December last year.
"We have been doing this in all elections since 1996, helping women to enter politics and preparing them for winning."We have had good success with the programme."More women are running for positions and more are winning," Brown observed."There are two women in the THA right now and we are expecting this to increase."This is the largest number that is contesting the elections."
Brown further noted there are two women from each of the three main political parties."None of them are running against each other, a situation we had to deal with in the past," she said.Among the candidates are the TOP's Certica Williams-Orr, a mother of one, who is going up against the PFT's heavy roller, Hochoy Charles, in the Plymouth/Golden Lane district.
Williams-Orr dismissed a Tobago Channel 5 poll which showed London leading in popularity in last Thursday night's debate.She felt it was rigged.She was not afraid of Charles either, she said."I am not afraid of him. He has no real track record."Williams-Orr said Plymouth and Golden Lane was suffering from neglect.
Plymouth, a vibrant fishing village, still has no proper fishing facilities, she said.The other TOP candidate is Sherry Ann Rollocks-Hackett, principal of Speyside High School.She said under the THA, Tobago's educational system has suffered from a lack of administrative and structural personnel and this impacted negatively on education in the island.
She said of the eight educational districts in T&T, Tobago was second to last in performance.Running for a second term in the THA is Claudia Groome-Duke, head of the Division of Health.Questioned about the kitchen at the new Scarborough Hospital, which is still not in operation, she said they were awaiting food distribution equipment.She said the THA had ordered the reorganisation of the kitchen and the equipment.
Steel tables, brought from abroad, were already in Trinidad and they were now waiting on the carts, Groome-Duke said.In the meantime, the kitchen was being used as a point to distribute food to the hospital. The food is being cooked at the old Scarborough hospital and transported to the venue.Groome-Duke said earlier reports that the THA spends $15,000 a day to transport the food was inaccurate.
She said the food was transported in a THA truck and cooked by existing hospital staff.She said the main cost comes from having to pay for food containers.Asked the real cost, she said that was still being worked out.
Women candidates contesting the THA elections
Tracy Davidson-Celestine-Parlatuvier/L'Anse Fourmi/Speyside
Claudia Groome-Duke-Black Rock/WHIM/Spring Garden
Juliana Henry-King�Bacolet/Mt St George
Petrina Shanghie-Belle Gardens/Goodwood West
Sherry Ann Rollocks-Hackett � Bethel/Mt Irvine
Certica Williams-Orr � Plymouth/Golden Lane